The State of Publishing
Lay-offs, closings and cut-backs characterized the sometimes rocky magazine publishing industry last year. But with statistics already available by the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB), industry experts are getting a jump-start in predicting how 2002 will fair in the wake of social and economical realities. With a membership representing roughly 85 percent of consumer magazine advertising volume in the U.S., PIB is recognized as a primary source for consumer magazine advertising data. To date, the organization reports on pages and advertising dollars for approximately 250 publications (including supplements) by title, classification and advertising, and by company and brand or service advertised.
Using this material, PIB reports that total magazine advertising revenue for the month of December closed at $1,356,530,984, not surprisingly, an 11.2 percent decrease from the year before. "The declines in magazine advertising we're seeing now can be attributed to the fact that the December monthlies closed their issues around the middle of September," explains Ellen Oppenheim, executive vice president/CMO for Magazine Publishers of America (MPA). "The tragic events that occurred during this time made it difficult for advertisers to make media commitments."
But as business begins its process of returning to "usual," or at least refocusing on the economic outlook, January's infant publishing news has already experienced its share of launches and losses.
Optimistic publishers, such as Jason Calacanis, former captain of the now-defunct Silicon Alley Reporter, recently launched VentureReporter, a monthly that focuses on national funding news in sectors including commerce, content, life sciences, optics and security. It will sell for $16.95 an issue, says Calacanis. According to statements he also made recently, though his former brain child was plagued by problematic advertising sales, he's confident that VentureReporter carves a more feasible niche within the industry—something on which all new and veteran publishers are banking. At a time when publishing economics is under the microscope for determining the fate of the industry at-large, Calacanis hopes to capitalize on the news-worthiness of such interests in print and online. Accordingly, the magazine harnessed $300,000 worth of advertising during the last six weeks of 2001, a turbulent time for most, but a promising sign for Calacanis.