Leading Technology Magazines’ Ad Pages Decline 14.8%, Revenue Down 5.8%

Leading Technology Magazines’ Ad Pages Decline 14.8%, Revenue Down 5.8%

The 46 leading technology magazines posted a 14.8% decline in ad pages in February, marking the largest monthly ad-page decline since July 2002. However, estimated ad revenues declined just 5.8%.

The 46 magazines combined for 2,606 ad pages in February, compared to 3,058 ad pages in the same month last year. Estimated ad revenues were $63.9 million compared to $67.8 million. The technology magazines had a combined 1.9% ad-rate increase in January that helped offset their ad-page declines last month.

The magazine categories that showed ad-page and revenue increases in February were government technology, channel and Mac-specific titles. In all, 12 magazines posted ad-page increases.

CMP Media’s Cadence had the largest percentage increase in ad pages in last month at 82.9%. Primedia’s Telephony had the largest percentage adpage decline at 79.3%.

All three Mac-specific titles – Future Network USA’s MacAddict, Xplain Corps.’ MacTech and IDG’s Macworld – posted ad page gains between 6.3% and 52.7%.

Macworld president Colin Crawford said the January Macworld conference in San Francisco saw Apple launch several new products that it has been supporting with new advertising. Apple has been running print and TV spots for its new 12-inch and 17-inch Powerbook computers as part of a $10 million ad campaign that launched in January (TABR, Jan. 27).

“We have some strong ad-supported issues coming up over the next few months,” Crawford said.

Ziff Davis Media’s CIO Insight was one of the few enterprise IT titles to post an ad page increase in February at 14.8%. Publisher Stephen Veith said the secret to his publication’s success was being able to connect its advertisers with actual customers. Veith said the integrated portfolio of products Ziff Davis offers its advertisers, including custom research and online ad opportunities, has strengthened advertising in print publications such as CIO Insight.

“The editorial product continues to demonstrate value to the CIO audience, and we continue to gain market share and build a stronger readership,” Veith said.

Red Herring Calls It Quits After 10 Years Red Herring magazine shut its doors earlier this month, and plans to sell its remaining assets, including the brand name and Web site, are underway. The magazine’s March issue was its last. Roughly 25 positions were affected.

Like most technology publishers that have closed in the past two years, Red Herring’s decision to close was based on its dwindling advertiser support. It was one of the hottest titles to advertise in during the boom of the dot-com economy but fell on hard times when the tech sector bubble burst in the spring of 2001. After a 137% ad-page increase in 2000, the magazine had a 59.7% decrease in ad pages for 2001, and ended 2002 down 67% in ad pages. Red Herring was down 35.1% in year-to-date ad pages through February of this year.

Founded in San Francisco in 1993 by Tony Perkins and Chris Alden, Red Herring made a name for itself as a top business technology magazine. The magazine was profitable for its first four years, when the Internet economy heated up in the late 1990s. Red Herring was seen as a prime location for dot-coms to place their ads in hopes of catching the eyes and funding of venture capitalists.

The company took on investor funding and tripled its business from 1999 to 2000, reaching nearly $100 million in sales. The magazine went from monthly to biweekly in November 2000, and had a rate base of 325,000 in January 2001. Bad times came early in 2001, when Red Herring laid off its online staff and outsourced its Web site. It suspended operation of its conference division in November 2001 and reverted to a monthly publishing cycle the following month.

Despite the poor ad support over the last two years, the shutdown came as a surprise to many. One of those was magazine founder Perkins. In a written commentary that appears on RedHerring.com, Perkins said he learned of the shutdown shortly after he submitted his editorial for what would have been Red Herring’s 10th-anniversary issue in April.

“I thought the worst was over, and the company was back on solid ground,” Perkins wrote. “But the advertising market remains sluggish, and our investors decided they had had enough.”

Perkins ended his commentary saying that Red Herring may still have some life left in it, leaving the door open to a possible restart of the brand in the future.

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