2005 PUBLICATION PRINTING Outlook — Readers Paying the Price

BY MARK SMITH

Technology Editor

It’s only fitting that LIFE magazine should be a barometer for the vitality of the publication market. This de facto “canary in the coal mine” for the magazine publishing market recently had its third incarnation. What’s significant about this latest go is that the magazine is now being distributed as a weekly newspaper insert, thereby avoiding subscription and mailing cost issues.

Top 10 Publication Printers
  Company Segment
Sales
(millions)
Total
Sales
(millions)
1 *RR Donnelley
Chicago
$1,887 $8,204
2 Quebecor World
Montreal
$1,664 $6,400
3 Quad/Graphics
Sussex, WI
$740 $2,000
4 Brown Printing
Waseca, MN
$320 $400
5 Cadmus Communications
Richmond, VA
$302 $445
6 Banta Corp.
Menasha, WI
$184 $1,418
6 Perry Judd’s
Waterloo, WI
$184 $297
8 Publishers Printing/ Publishers Press,
Shepherdsville, KY
$160 $160
9 Vertis Inc.
Baltimore
$158 $1,585
10 The Sheridan Group
Hunt Valley, MD
$149 $213
Sales figures are based on above printers’ self-reported total and market segment breakdowns.

*RR Donnelley’s figure for this market segment also includes revenues from catalogs and ad inserts.

Publishers and printers alike have noted a surprisingly strong up-tick in the market of late, at least for consumer titles. There has been a noticeable shift in the market, though.

When the industry started to rebound, signs of this change could be seen in market data from the Magazine Publishers of America’s Publishers Information Bureau (PIB). Even as more of the sectors that PIB tracks reported strengthening revenues, growth of ad pages lagged far behind, remained flat or continued to decline.

Through the first 10 months of 2004, PIB reports magazine revenues closed above $17 billion, or an increase of 10.3 percent compared to the same period in 2003. While total ad pages also registered an increase, it was a much more modest 3 percent gain.

Six categories stood out in terms of revenue growth, posting double-digit increases. These include: Apparel & Accessories (revenues: 11.6 percent/ad pages: 3.1 percent); Food & Food Products (13.6 percent/9.1 percent); Media & Advertising (16.4 percent/8.9 percent); Retail (20.2 percent/8 percent); Financial, Insurance & Real Estate (23.3 percent/15.3 percent); and Public Transportation, Hotels & Resorts (23 percent/8 percent).

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