Could this be Good News for Commercial Advertising Photography?
It's only March, but Hearst Magazines' chief marketing officer, Michael Clinton, expects ad sales for his titles will be burning up this summer.
Sales for April rose 12% compared to the same period last year. Now Clinton says May will be even better. Ad sales across 13 of Hearst's main titles are already up 17% for May, he says, and the month isn't fully booked yet. Hearst won't report official numbers until mid-April.
The bounce is driven by Hearst's "big books" like Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Oprah and House Beautiful, says Clinton. "We're seeing a moving recovery in the ad market. Advertisers are spending more on print, especially in beauty and packaged goods."
The rise doesn't count the Food Network Magazine, a joint venture of Hearst and Scripps, which announced earlier this month it is increasing paid circulation again, to 1.25 million. Not bad for a magazine that launched last June with a rate base of 400,000.
The ad climate seems to be improving for the magazine business. Overall ad spending for magazines will rise this year by 1.9%, to $9.4 billion, predicts a recent study from Outsell. For consumer titles (as opposed to b-to-b), spending will climb 4.2%.
Hearst's digital properties aren't faring badly either. Based on current sales, the first half of this year will bring a rise in digital ad sales of about 30% says Chuck Cordray, senior vice president and general manager of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. That new business doesn't derive from Hearst's digital print editions so much as it does from independent sites the company has launched. About 60% of the traffic to Hearst digital goes to standalone brands like RealBeauty (beauty products), eSpin (a teen social community) and DailyGreen (organic food purveyor). In the midst of this, with pressure driving CPMs down, Hearst Digital's CPMs are "essentially flat," says Cordray.