Magazine publishing has experienced some of the hardest economic times of any sector over the past couple of years. For example, 367 U.S. periodicals closed their doors in 2009 and 64 went to digital-only.
However, despite the economic distress and the explosion of digital media, the pace of decline has slowed considerably. In the first half of 2010, only 87 magazines went out of business and 16 others became digital magazines.
Similarly, magazine direct marketing campaigns are beginning to ramp up again this year, in both the direct mail and email channels. This is a good sign, particularly for direct mailers, as 2009 saw a huge drop in marketing efforts by a struggling magazine industry.
Here are several significant trends highlighted in Direct Marketing IQ's Magazine Publishing Industry Sector Report, which was just released by the Target Marketing Group's research team. The report relies on data provided by the vast collection of direct mail and email in the Who's Mailing What! Archive and the Email Campaign Archive.
1. Consumer magazine mail begins recovery
While consumer magazine mail sank by 37 percent from 2008 to 2009, it's currently projected to only sink by 6 percent in 2010. Among the consumer magazines, from 2008 to 2009, general interest titles fell 37 percent and women's magazines by 26 percent; men's magazines and regional titles did even worse, sinking by a whopping 72 percent for the former and 63 percent for the latter.
Examining the sector further in terms of percentage of each year's total, several trends popped out. Direct mail from consumer magazines—as a percentage of the year's total number of direct mail pieces—went from 68 percent in 2008 to 58 percent in 2009, before recovering to 62 percent during the first six months of 2010. A similar drop was noticeable among the largest consumer category, General/Special Interest, which dropped three percentage points from 2008 to 2009 before gaining one percentage back in the first part of 2010.