Thursday, April 16, 2009

Magazines Looking for a Pony

When Ronald Reagan was in the White House, he used to tell a story about a boy who was so optimistic that when confronted with a pile of manure, he began digging enthusiastically. Asked by concerned onlookers what the heck he was doing, he replied, "With all that manure, there must be a pony in there somewhere!"

Soooooooooooo, magazine publishers took whopping big hits to their advertising revenue over the last year. According to the Publishers Information Bureau on April 14, magazine advertising revenue for 2009 Q1 was down 20.2 percent compared to the 2008 Q1. And ad pages dropped 25.9 percent during the same time frame. Some magazines were down more than 50 percent, according to Min magazine.

But if it's been so bad, then things will have to get better, right?

Well, maybe not, but hope springs eternal. Folio: reports that magazine publishers are looking for an uptick in their advertising pages -- based mostly on the belief that things have been so bad, they've got to get better. A Hearst publisher is cited saying that "there have been a lot of [advertisers'] budgets that have been held back" waiting for the right time to jump back in. "We’re beginning now to see that open up for the second half."

Hey, I hope she's right. But I suspect more than a few publishers have stopped digging.

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