Deep drops in the third and fourth quarters led to negative advertising growth for the country's leading consumer mags in 2008, according to reports provided to MastheadOnline by Leading National Advertisers Canada. Total run-of-press ad pages were down 9.2% for the 84 magazines tracked by LNA last year, while ad dollars dipped by 5.1%, from $733.7 million to $695.9 million. (That dollar figure is based only on rate card listings, so it is best taken as an estimate.) In the fourth quarter of 2008, ROP ad pages plunged by 15.7% versus the same period in 2007, an even steeper decline than the 12.2% dive in Q3.
Only 12 magazines showed ROP page growth over 1% (including, oddly enough, the recently shuttered Wish). Transcontinental Media's More led the way at 46.1%, while its closest competitor was Rogers Publishing's Moneysense, which saw relatively modest growth of 11.5%. The other gainers were Westworld Alberta (9%), Famous Magazine (8.6%), Glow (8.4%), Westworld BC (7.7%), Profit (7.6%), Toronto Life (6.1%), Canadian Business (6%) and Elle Canada (4.2%). (Special interest publications from Time also saw ad pages up by 40%, but this is likely due to an adjustment in the way they were measured.)
Dollar counts, which can factor in increased rates at some publications, were better, with 23 titles showing year-over-year gains.
Of the 64 magazines with negative growth of 1% or worse, 42 saw double-digit percentage declines. Among the hardest hit titles were Renovation Bricolage (-43.6%), Madame (-39.8%), Homemakers (-34.4%), Tribute (-33.9%), Canadian Home & Country (-27.9%), Les Idees De Ma Maison (-24.6%), Good Times (-24.3%), Inside Entertainment (-23.9%), Tv Hebdo/Tv 7 Jours (-23.5%), Decoration Chez-Soi (22%), Canadian Home Workshop (-21.5%), and Fleurs Plantes Jardins (-20.7%).
ROP pages were also down for each of Canada's top ten magazines (based on advertising revenues): Chatelaine (-5.4%), Canadian Living (-17.6%), Maclean's (-5.1%), Reader's Digest (-3.8%), Canadian House & Home (-3.6%), Flare (-8.5%), Châtelaine (-12.4%), Coup De Pouce (-9.1%), Today's Parent (-8.6%) and the recently shuttered Time Canada (-17.6%).
Some notable competitive sets:
- Today's Parent (-8.6%) vs. Canadian Family (-7.1%)
- Flare (-8.5%) vs. Fashion (-6.8%) vs. Elle Canada (4.2%)
- Canadian House & Home (-3.6%) vs. Style at Home (-3%)
- Eye Weekly (0.5%) vs. Now (-10.7%)
- Canadian Business (6%) vs. Financial Post Magazine (-5.3%) vs. Report on Business Magazine (-11.4%)
This year's overall 9.2% decline is the worst on record going back to 2000. Here is what the LNA trending looks like for ROP pages going back that far. Total revenue is listed in brackets. (Because LNA does not necessarily track the same magazines every year, the numbers are not apples-to-apples, but give a good snaposhot of the advertising market for Canada's major consumer magazines.)
- 2008: -9.2% ($695.9 million)
- 2007: +2.7% ($733.7 million)
- 2006: -0.1% ($698.5 million)
- 2005: +0.4% ($670.0 million)
- 2004: +6.5% ($646.6 million)
- 2003: +4.1% ($600.5 million)
- 2002: +1.4% ($559.3 million)
- 2001: +2.1% ($462.7 million)
- 2000: +10.1% ($454.0 million)