CATALOG & MAGAZINE PRINTING OUTLOOK -- Making Every Page Count
On the consumer side, the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) reports total ad pages were up just 0.3 percent through October 2005, compared to the same period of 2004. Leading the way in this sector are "financial, insurance & real estate" (up 13.9 percent) and "food & food products" (9.7 percent) titles, with "technology" (-10 percent) and "home furnishings & supplies" (-8.4 percent) titles accounting for the greatest declines.
Both of these indexes have been reporting more positive trends in terms of ad revenues, but the methodology for calculating these numbers has cast doubt on their relevancy and they don't have direct bearing on print volumes.
Rick Marcoux, president of RR Donnelley's Magazine business, points out that consumer magazines have registered slightly positive ad page growth overall since July 2002. Trade magazine ad pages, which had been lagging by comparison, began to see revitalization this September, he adds, making it a "cautious recovery" for the magazine segment as a whole.
"As publishers look to focus on, and invest in, their recent launches of new consumer titles, RR Donnelley anticipates that ad pages across the aggregate of all the magazine segments will be relatively stable," Marcoux summarizes. "We also anticipate a continued focus on regional and metropolitan magazines into 2006, as they have been one of the strongest new-title growth segments in 2005."
Co-mailing is a key opportunity for publication printers, as well, he says, with publishers looking to reduce their costs even before the latest postage increase was announced. Marcoux also sees publishers looking to leverage their title and company brands by launching new print vehicles. In addition, he expects printers to continue working with publishers to address the need for a mechanism to effectively measure the ROI of magazine ads.
In his keynote speech at this year's American Magazine Conference, Jack Kilger, president and CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media US, included that last point among his calls to action. "We need to develop a system . . . to measure our readership in a more timely and comparable way to fully participate in the discussion of advertising effectiveness and ROI," he says.