Hispanic Magazines bid goodbye to an ugly 2009
There really is no way to put it nicely or beat around the bush – 2009 was an ugly year for the magazine industry.
With all 12 of PIB’s (MPA’s Publisher Information Bureau) broad category groupings posting declines, ad spending in general market magazines fell by 18.1% for full-year 2009, while ad pages dropped by a full quarter (25.6%). PIB’s press release valiantly tried to strike a positive note by pointing out that in the fourth quarter, spending in the food category was up and there was “relative improvement in other areas, especially in automotive.” In other words, magazine advertising was less bad, although ad pages still declined by 21.6% and ad revenue by 12.4%.
Unfortunately, the collapse of automotive ad spending and the effects of the recession were felt just as strongly in the Hispanic magazine sector. The Hispanic magazine sector had been used to years in which it consistently out-performed the general market.
In 2009, however, ad pages at Hispanic titles dropped by 25.4% (almost exactly the same as the general market’s -25.6% drop) according to HispanicMagazineMonitor™. Ad dollars fell even more sharply, declining by 29.4% (much worse than the -18.1% in the general market).
One reason that the revenue decline was worse than the page decline in the Hispanic market was the closing of the venerable Selecciones brand in the U.S. Hispanic market last spring (Selecciones continues to publish Spanish-language editions for Argentina, Mexico, and Spain). Ad dollars for Selecciones (which only published through June, 2009) were down by 59.6%.
But the pain was felt by practically all the publishers in the Hispanic market: ad revenue was down by 14.8% at People en Español, 27.5% at Latina, and 16.5% at TV y Novelas. Among the top 10 Hispanic magazines in 2009 (in which, by the way, Selecciones is conspicuously absent), only two – TV Notas and Ser Padres Espera – posted ad increases.
Other Hispanic magazines that closed in 2009 (in addition to Selecciones) includied: Fox Sports en Español, Kena, Ocean Drive en Español, and Sobre Ruedas, There were two new launches : LATINO magazine and Cocina al Maximo.
Among the categories, Automotive posted the most severe decline. Automotive ad spending suffered a disastrous fall of 72.6% to just under $6 million in 2009 from $21.1 million in 2008 (a decline of $15.3 million). Coming after a another 44.8% drop in auto spending in 2008, the auto category slipped from its traditional top perch among all categories to 8th place last year. Automotive ad spending in Hispanic magazines peaked in 2007 at $38,307,116.”
Cosmetics ($13,631,057) and Haircare ($12,097,345) were the top two ad categories. Comparatively speaking, they fared well compared to most other large categories with (only) a 1.0% decline and a 2.4% increase, respectively, from previous year.
The Haircare (+2.4%) and Personal Care – Baby/Children (+6.3%) were the only categories among the top 10 which posted an increase in ad dollars in 2009.
What About 2010?
It’s too early to tell of course what will happen in 2010 (and – as a lapsed economist – am skeptical of most forecasts anyway). Will ad spending increase in 2010? Not likely. Will we hit bottom? Maybe. Flat is the new up, but I fear we may have at least one more year of ad declines in store.
To a great extent the outcome will hinge on whether automotive can get back on its feet (and the recent troubles at Toyota are not encouraging). Fourth quarter automotive ad spending in Hispanic magazines was indeed less bad – but only marginally (-61.1%).
Personal care ad spending – especially cosmetics and haircare – has held up fairly well through the recession and could help lead an ad spending recovery in magazines.
Two categories: Personal Care – Baby/Children and Food are among the categories that hold the best promise for growth in 2010 (particularly among Hispanics who over-index in both categories). Personal Care – Baby/Children (primarily diapers and creams/lotions) ranked 7th in total ad spending last year and was the fastest-growing among the top 10 categories. The food category – although down by 13.3% last year – is the largest in the consumer category and was among the fastest growing before the recession hit.
Next week…a closer look at automotive advertising.
Thanks for reading.
- Carlos Pelay
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