Biz magazines underperform industry in fourth quarter

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The 14 business magazines performed worse than the overall magazine industry in the fourth quarter in terms of advertising revenue and advertising pages, according to a data analysis by Talking Biz News.

In the fourth quarter, the industry saw a 1.3 percent advertising revenue decline and a 7.3 percent drop in advertising pages, according to data released Thursday by Publishers Information Bureau.

However, the business glossies reported a drop of 6.6 percent in advertising revenue to $421 million and an ad page drop of 13.4 percent to 3532.15 pages during the last three months of the year. The comparison is slightly affected by Smart Money, which had its print edition closed by News Corp. at the end of the third quarter of 2012.

The only business magazine to see an increase in ad pages and ad revenue during the fourth quarter was Enterpreneur. It reported a 1.4 percent rise in ad revenue to $20.0 million and a 1.6 percent increase in ad pages to 232.52.

Barron’s also reported a rise in both ad pages and ad revenue, but many do not consider it to be a magazine. Its ad revenue rose 5.2 percent in the quarter to $17.8 million, and its page pages rose 1.4 percent to 102.81.

The worst performing magazine was Inc., which saw its advertising revenue drop 23.3 percent to $12.2 million and its ad pages drop 25.7 percent to 147.98 in the quarter.

Right behind it was Harvard Business Review, which saw its ad revenue fall 22.8 percent to $5.4 million and its ad pages fall 25.8 percent to 119.63.

Among the big three business glossies — Forbes, Fortune and Bloomberg Businessweek — Fortune performed the best during the quarter.

Its ad revenue fell 1.5 percent to $62.4 million, and its ad pages fell 7.8 percent to 438.73.

In comparison, Forbes reported a 5.4 percent drop in ad revenue to $95.8 million, and a 9.7 percent drop in ad pages to 642.9, while Bloomberg Businessweek reported a 4.1 percent decline in ad revenue to $72.6 million and a 7.7 percent drop in ad pages to 489.35.