News Mags Ad Revenue Suffers; Celebrity Mags Thrive
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Pew has posted advertising revenue analysis for major magazines over the past year. Not surprisingly, the "big three" news magazines continue to suffer, other mags such as The New Yorker hold steady, while the celebrity magazines continue to thrive. As Pew reports:
It's been a rough year for the three major U.S. newsweeklies and a boom year for the celebrity/gossip magazines, according to the most recent advertising numbers released by the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB), measuring ad pages in about 250 titles.
The 2007 ad pages are down substantially at the two biggest newsweeklies. Time may have been redesigned this year, but its ad pages were off by about 6% through the first nine months of 2007 compared with the same period in 2006. Newsweek, meanwhile, saw a drop of almost 9% in its ad pages over that period. And U.S. News and World Report's ad page count fell by just under 1%.
The numbers weren't all bad for other news magazines, however. The North American edition of the Economist is having a good 2007 with ad pages up almost 7% in the first nine months. The Week's ad pages were was up almost 11%. This comes on the heels of a good 2006, when ad pages for both were up. The New Yorker's pages were up a slim 2.7%.
Meanwhile, the year's steady diet of stories about Britney, Lindsay, Paris and O.J., have helped the celebrity magazines get fat.
InTouch Weekly, the five-year old celebrity tracker, saw its ad pages increase by almost 20% in the first nine months of 2007, compared to 2006. Ad pages in The Star, remade from a supermarket tab to a glossy three years ago, ballooned almost 25%. But the biggest winner was three-year-old OK! Magazine, which had a remarkable 45% increase in ad pages.
OK! not only benefited from the stories about bad celebrity behavior, it helped create some as well when a July photo session with Britney Spears turned into a news-making debacle on its own, thanks her to her bizarre behavior.
Industry-wide ad pages are off by 1% in consumer magazines through September.
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