The magazine industry got off to a good start in 2011, but in the end eked out a tiny gain in advertising revenue of just $8 million over the prior year, for a total of $20.1 billion, according to year-end figures released Tuesday by Publishers Information Bureau. Ad pages fell 3% to 164,225.
The fourth quarter was particularly soft. Revenue dropped 5% to $5.7 billion and pages were down 8% compared to the year-ago period.
“A weakened economy in the second half of the year offset [first-half] gains as advertisers grew more skittish from diminished consumer spending, wild stock market swings and zero job growth,” said Nina Link, President and CEO, of MPA–The Association of Magazine Media, in a statement.
The categories of food and food products, drugs and remedies and automotive all posted double-digit declines in the fourth quarter.
According to rankings compiled by Kantar Media from Publisher Information Bureau figures, People magazine was once again the No. 1 title, though ad revenue fell 2% to $997 million, and pages dropped 6%, compared to a year ago.
New York magazine moved into second place—up from fifth in 2010—in ad pages, with an increase of 6%. It ranked just 26th, however, in ad revenue, at $206 million, up 8%.
Better Homes & Gardens was No. 2 in revenue, at $725 million, a decline of 14%.