PIB is administered by the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) in New York City. The association also conducted a membership survey in preparation for its yearly American Magazine Conference that was held in late October.

A survey question about the outlook for industry growth in 2003 used very broad ranges, but at least gives some sense of the mood among magazine publishers. The majority by far, 63 percent, picked the growth range of one to 10 percent. However, 20 percent said they expected revenues to be flat in 2003 and 11 percent pessimistically opted for a decline in the range of one to 10 percent. The remainder are looking for growth of greater than 10 percent.

Line Extensions

There also was some good news for publication printers in the responses to a question about anticipated line extensions of current titles. More than 48 percent of the publishing execs sampled reportedly indicated they expect to increase the number of line extensions they publish over the next few years. The remainder were equally split between making the same number of (26 percent) and fewer (26 percent) line extensions.

Printers will have to do a little work in order to find business opportunities in the list of biggest challenges facing the magazine industry, as reported by MPA survey respondents. The top five most cited challenges were ad revenues (54 percent), generating subscriptions (38 percent), lack of postal reform (30 percent), too many media options (30 percent) and flight of young readers (20 percent).

Publication printers may be at the mercy of many of the trends impacting the publishing/media industry, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be proactive in their client relationships. That point is illustrated in the following first-hand accounts of how some segment leaders see the market and are responding to the challenges and opportunities. Of course, all of the top executives noted the obvious decline in publication pages due to cuts in advertising spending.

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