Magazine Print Ad Pages Down 4% In 2013

Posted on 5/7/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

In 2013 there were 145,713 ad pages in the magazines measured by the trade organization Publishers Information Bureau.  It is worth noting that in 2000 this organization reported 286,932 ad pages – almost double the 2013 numbers -- for the magazines it tracks.

The good news, if it can be called that, is that in a comparison of 2013 to 2012 print ad pages were only down -4% and revenue at $19.7 billion was up 1% from the previous year. This was also and improvement on 2012 vs. 2011 when ad pages were down -8% and the revenue loss was -4% compared to the previous year. a comparison of the same titles in both years shows print paging was down -4.0% and revenue down -1.6%.  

For the full year 2013, tablet magazine advertising units increased 16%. The total footprint of print pages and tablet edition units showed a healthy 5% increase.

Newspaper Revenue

According to preliminary data compiled by the Newspaper Association of America total revenue for the multiplatform U.S. newspaper media business amounted to $37.59 billion in 2013, a decline or 2.6% from $38.60 billion in 2012. Revenue has dropped from $49.435 billion in 2005. Within that 2013 total, $23.57 billion came from advertising across all platforms, $10.87 billion from circulation and $3.15 billion from newly-developing and other sources.

In terms of circulation in 2005 about 48% of U.S. households received a daily and Sunday newspaper, but by 2012 that was down to about 33%.

While circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers recorded a second consecutive year of growth, rising 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013 that doesn’t seem to makeup for the loss in advertising revenue and revenue from other sources.

Revenue from digital channels — advertising, circulation, digital marketing services, and other — rose 5.8% and accounted for 12% of total industry revenue.

The group of newly-developing and other revenue increased 5% overall.  The component of digital agency and marketing services, where newspaper media companies tap into interest among local businesses in the digital environment, increased 43%.

What’s This Mean For Photographers

It is not a surprise to anyone that the use of images in printed publications has been declining. The amount of space for editorial material in printed publication is directly tied to the amount of advertising in most publications. When advertising declines the number of pages for editorial materials declines, often on a 1:1 basis, but in some cases you lose more than one editorial page for every advertising page lost.

One bright spot could be that advertisers are switching to spending more of their advertising budgets on digital ads. Digital platforms like tablets (maybe not so much with smartphones) tend to use more images.

But the amount publishers, or the developers of all-digital information products, are willing to pay for pictures is remarkably less than they are (or were) willing to pay for pictures used in print. In addition the digital products can use video where print products cannot. Therefore, it seems likely that in the years ahead we will see a dramatic increase in the use of moving images relative to still images.

For that reason, many still photographers are learning to shoot video and are shooting stills and video simultaneously on their shoots.

But does the use of more video mean a greater demand for video clips? I think not. So far we’re not seeing it in the stock photo business. The growth in the number of still images being licensed far exceeds the growth in video clips being licensed.

I think that as we transition to video it will be much more of a transition to “telling the story” of the event or advertiser. The image will not be there just for decoration as is often the case with “generic” still images. It will be an integral part of the story that will have to be created at the time the whole story is created.

If I am right then we are on a track to switch back from a dominance of stock photography to the necessity for more and more of the information delivery (and that includes advertising) to be created as one whole piece, not picking up bits and pieces of what needs to be said here and there and putting it all together.

Something to think about.

Copyright © 2014 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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