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January 16, 2010 / davebirss


We all know that the last year gave the advertising industry a mighty kick in the goolies. Many would say that the industry deserved it. Including me. But unfortunately when the advertising industry gets hammered it also affects other industries that the public have a lot more affection for. Like broadcast and publishing. And an article in this week’s Guardian shows exactly how badly the publishing industry has been hit. It gave us the incredible stats:

Advertising revenue totalled $19.5bn in 2009, a 17.5% decline against 2008, generating a total of about 170,000 advertising pages (the year-on-year 25% drop).

That’s a pretty big thumping. The worst on record, in fact. And as you can see, it’s affected some magazines more than others – with my favourite magazine being the worst hit (I’m not talking Razzle or Asian Babes here – although I’m sure they’ve been feeling the pinch too).

Among the major publishers, Condé Nast fared worst, with Wired losing 40% of their ad pages, Vanity Fair 32% and Vogue 31%.

Most advertising people will be seeing this as a blip and will expect the market to recover at some point. I’m not so sure. I’m not just getting up on some smug, digital high horse here – I actually think consumer behaviour is going through a shift just now. And just as importantly so are advertising spending patterns. So if the two audiences who pump money into the publishing industry are thinking different maybe the publishing industry needs a radical rethink of its business model.

Any ideas?

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