Branching Out: Trade Magazines Offer Clients a Variety of Venues in Which to Advertise

By Deeken, Aimee | ADWEEK, September 29, 2003 | Go to article overview

Branching Out: Trade Magazines Offer Clients a Variety of Venues in Which to Advertise


Deeken, Aimee, ADWEEK


When last June's figures for ad revenue and pages were announced, the prevailing wisdom in the business-to-business industry was that the worst was over. Ad pages in the month of June increased 0.9 percent over the corresponding month for the first time since November 2000. Revenue was up 5 percent, according to the Business Information Network, part of American Business Media. Retail, automotive, home and building, and drags and toiletries experienced significant growth. However, telecom and technology (the computer and software categories) were down 30 and 20 percent, respectively.

Still, these figures were well ahead of year-end tallies for 2002, when the only category out of 12 with a positive ad revenue increase over 2001 was drugs and toiletries. Heavy decreases were seen in finance, telecom and tech sectors, the biggest B-to-B categories. Though total 2002 B-to-B spending declined for the second year, by 8.7 percent to $19.2 billion, 2001 spending was only half that, at $10.8 billion, reports Veronis Suhler.

Circulation also declined for the second consecutive year, falling 9.6 percent to $2.1 billion in 2002, reports Veronis Suhler. This led to more reliance on controlled circ, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of overall B-to-B circ last year, its share of total circulation having increased the last two years. Heading into 2004, the industry is expected to finish the year up 3 percent in ad spending.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers forecasts next year's spending at $7.7 billion with a growth of 3.5 percent. Veronis Suhler projects a slow, steady compound annual growth of 4.8 percent in the industry through 2007, and expenditures of $24.2 billion by 2007.

The source of such growth can be summed up in the catch-phrases "value-added" and "integrated marketing" packages. "There has been a leveling out of ad pages," says Dan Belmont, president of Carat Media's business and technology group. "Money went from ad pages to other lead-generation programs." Belmont, cites the Internet, direct mail and data analytics as examples.

Gordon Hughes, president/CEO of American Business Media, agrees. "The topline has to come through new products," he says. He offers as examples custom publishing, sponsorships, print and digital ad packages, manipulating databases for narrowed demos and rich data, or exclusive market intelligence information.

Technology advertising, the largest category, is expected to pick up in second quarter 2004. "Most companies made computer investments in 1999 for Y2K, and now it's time to invest in new machines," explains Hughes. "Many companies will go to Ziff and IDG books [for that information]. …

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