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More Brands Place Ads in Digital Magazine Editions

Significantly more unique brands in the US are placing ads across digital formats

June 6, 2013

The magazine industry’s ad spending revenues for print only continue to decline, with eMarketer estimating in March 2013 that the format would contract by 0.4% this year and would not start growing again until 2016.

But while buffeting from digital forces is cutting into print revenues, many magazines have successfully translated content to online formats and gained readership on digital editions. According to a December 2012 survey from payments consultancy WorldPay, 22% of US internet users had bought a downloadable magazine or newspaper via a subscription service.

Now as readers take up digital magazine editions, publishers are getting advertisers to follow them online. The Publishers Information Bureau (PIB), along with Kantar Media, looked at 58 magazine titles in the US and found that between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013, the number of ad units in print ad pages held relatively steady. But the number of ad units available on just the iPad increased nearly 24%, giving the iPad editions 56% of the total number of ad units as on print pages. Factoring in iPhones, other tablets and PCs, digital is clearly providing a significant number of new magazine ad opportunities.

US Print vs. iPad Magazine Ad Units, Q1 2012 & Q1 2013 (thousands and % change)

Looking at how many brands purchased ads in magazines, and where they were most likely to buy units during the year, the study found that the number of unique brands that advertised in print magazines declined from 2,904 to 2,778. But when PIB measured the number of brands that purchased ads in print, web or iPad magazine editions, that number increased by more than 1,000. There is no doubt that brands are increasingly looking to digital editions of magazines for placement of their ads.

Additionally, lower prices for some ads in digital magazines may be stirring more brands to make buys.

Number of Brands Advertising in US Print, Web and iPad Magazines, Q1 2012 & Q1 2013

And the skew toward digital is growing. In Q1 2012, the number of brands with ads on the combined digital plus print formats studied was 188% higher than the number of brands on print only. A year later, that difference had risen to 246%.

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