Technology Magazines End 2002 Down 13.4% In Ad Pages, Revenues Drop 14.3%

Technology Magazines End 2002 Down 13.4% In Ad Pages, Revenues Drop 14.3%

The 47 leading technology magazines tracked monthly by TABR ended 2002 down 13.4% in ad pages and down 14.3% in estimated ad revenue. Despite the decline, the magazines’ ad numbers saw less of a hit than in 2001, when they were down 33.7% in ad pages and 32.4% in estimated ad revenues.

The 47 magazines combined for 42,182 ad pages last year, compared to 48,721 in 2001. The magazines generated an eestimated $926.1 million in a revenues, compared to $1.1 billion in 2001.

Of the nine technology magazine categories tracked, only government technology and computer gaming magazines posted ad-page and adrevenue increases in 2002. The two magazines in the government technology category combined for 2,689 ad pages in 2002, up 50.1% over 2001. Estimated ad revenues increased 53.8%

The seven computer game magazines combined for 5,734 ad pages, up 23.6% from 2001. Estimated ad revenues increased by 26.2% to $73.8 million.

Fritz Nelson, publisher of CMP Media’s Network Computing, said 2002 was a trying year for many publishers. Network computing ended 2002 down 16.8% in ad pages and 15.2% in estimated ad revenues. However, the magazine showed steady improvement in its ad pages in the second half of the year. Nelson said the increase in ad pages was the result of a handful of editorial and cosmetic improvements the magazines put into place last year.

“We made a capital investment of several hundred thousand dollars to set up a mock company we called ‘Network Computing Inc.’ that used the newest business applications,” Nelson said. “We tested these applications in a real environment, then wrote about it. The editorial was a hit because we showed we could live in the shoes of our readers. In September, we launched a redesign of the magazine to give it a fresh new look. Those and other new editorial changes resulted in an increase to our ad pages.” Network Computing’s December ad pages were up 48.0% compared to December 2001. Nelson said he expects to continue the momentum into 2003, with ad pages slowly increasing each month as the market recovers.

The Ones That Didn’t Make It Despite the poor ad performance in 2002, many publishers are glad to be still in business. Over the past year, TABR saw nine magazines shut down.

Business technology magazines, which had seen unprecedented growth during the dot-com boom years of the late 1990s and early 2000, were hit hard by poor ad sales in 2002. Line56 (Line56 Media) began 2002 on a high note by acquiring the assets of the Freedom Technology Media Group from Freedom Communications in January for roughly $2 million (TABR, Jan. 14, 2002). The purchase included CRM Magazine, Field Force Automation and Knowledge Management and their respective Web sites.

However, by late February Line56 suspended publication due to poor ad sales. In the fall, Line56 relaunched the publication as a quarterly and renamed it Portals Magazine. The company shuttered all of its Freedom Technology publications and only maintains the KnowledgeManagement.com Web site.

In May, Ziff Davis Media, New York, announced it would close its business technology title-Ziff Davis Smart Business-after its June issue due to poor ad sales (TABR, May 20, 2002) In September, UMAC Inc., San Francisco, publisher of Upside magazine, pulled the plug on the title just prior to its October issue going to press (TABR, Nov. 4, 2002). It was down 75.6% in year-to-date ad pages.

Poor ad sales also claimed the lives of these publications: CMP Media’s Internet Week in January (TABR, Jan. 28, 2002);. Ziff Davis’ Yahoo! Internet Last month, 101communications shut down Enterprise Systems. Boardwatch was sold by Penton Media in mid-December to LightReading.com, an online publisher covering the telecom market. A LightReading.com spokesperson said they have no plans to continue publishing Boardwatch as a print magazine but will maintain its Web site ISPWorld.com-with editorial supplied by the LightReading.com Web site. Boardwatch ended 2002 down 56.7% in ad pages.

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