2009 Industry Forecast

Have you noticed that magazines are losing weight? It’s not your imagination — magazines are facing the same problems afflicting the rest of the media business: less revenue, dwindling readership and a rapid-fire digital world that makes weeklies and monthlies alike seem like old news.

The U.S. magazine industry saw ad pages drop nearly 12 percent in 2008, according to the Magazine Publishers of America. (Magazines often determine the number of pages of editorial content based on a ratio of ad pages to editorial content.) Things only accelerated in the fourth quarter, when ad pages plummeted 17 percent. A study released Feb. 10 by the Association of National Advertisers also paints a bleak picture: 77 percent of marketers surveyed say they plan to reduce their advertising campaign media budgets.

The tide isn’t playing favorites when it comes to genres. Newsweek has admitted to losing money last year. After more than 40 years with a larger format, Rolling Stone shrunk to a standard print size with its Oct. 30 issue.

But even in this tumultuous economic climate, money is still being invested in content marketing initiatives. Junta 42, a search community focused on content marketing and custom publishing, recently asked its readers about their 2009 content marketing budgeting plans. The December Junta42 Readership Study found that 56 percent of respondents plan to increase their content marketing spending in 2009. This includes web content, case studies, blogs, webinars, newsletters, enewsletters, custom magazines, etc.

In a similar survey fielded by Junta42 last March, only 42 percent of respondents expected to increase content marketing budgets.

But why is custom media spending growing, when other publishing sects are simply trying to stay above water? Because corporate marketers recognize the effectiveness achieved through customized communications that truly deliver value to their customers and employees. And, they recognize that strengthening existing relationships can be even more important than trying to lure new prospects aboard in tough economic times.

Of course, Junta42 isn’t the only forecast for 2009 marketing spending. The blogosphere is jam-packed with projections for all areas of marketing and publishing. Check out the hunches for yourself…