A slew of trading statements brings little cheer except in my wee cottage up here in windswept Barra.
Let’s start with our old pals in RBI:
- Profits halve at Reed Elsevier: Ian Smith, the chief executive, said: “The depth and length of the downturn is having some effect on even our most resilient businesses.”
Then we have this:
- Time Warner. Revenue fell 22 per cent on a 26 per cent decline in advertising revenue and an 18 per cent drop in subscription revenue.
And closer to home
- Future has reported a year-on-year revenue fall of 9% in the nine months to the end of June… its circulation revenue … was down 8% and its ad revenue down 14%.
- While at UBM: B2B operations, which have closed 43 titles since 2007, reported revenue down 22.3%, with operating profit down from £13.8m to £3.3m in the first six months of 2009
According to the their latest trading statement, total revenues are down 11% at Euromoney – or an unpleasant 22% when one factors in the poor performance of the pound.
And there’s more.
As expected, the rate of subscription revenue growth is now declining … The declines in advertising, sponsorship and delegate revenues, …, have continued at similar rates to those experienced in the second quarter.
So, the stuff that was doing badly continues to cause pain and the stuff that was going okay has started tanking.
A fab graph from Silicon Alley Insider showing the decline in ad revenue for various US business magazines:
Couple that with a report in the FT that BusinessWeek might be put on the market for just $1 and you have a range of problems for some top brands.
From the USA:
Consumer magazine ad pages continued to take a beating through the second quarter, plummeting 29.5% compared to the same period in 2008… ad pages were down in each of the twelve categories tracked. (From Folio )
And from closer to home, a headline that really is clutching at the straws marked ‘optimism':
Worst is over for UK ad market, says Bellwether report. Green shoots are sprouting in UK advertising and marketing budgets, according to the latest Bellwether report by trade body the IPA.
Which sounds great. In fact, because this is the IPA it’s talking up the report’s findings in a shocking (though unsurprising) way. A few more snippets that they drew less attention to:
- companies still had a slightly negative view of the prospects for the advertising industry
- the rates of decline slowed for all the main advertising categories (n.b. rates of decline slowed – we haven’t hit bottom yet)
- UK advertising expenditure is expected to fall 13.3% in 2009, revised [down] from previous estimate of 9.1%.
- A return to growth is not expected until the second half of next year.
Never, ever trust the figures given out by industry bodies.
09/11/10 More news on the rather suspcious Cre8 here
Cre8, the publisher of various football magazines including Arsenal, Tottenham, Celtic, Rangers and QPR has gone into voluntary liquidation.
The situation is a little uncertain, but seems linked to the company’s recent involvement with a hotel in Peterborough. The fact that it’s a voluntary liquidation raises the possibility of a phoenix operation with some of the more profitable assets being bought and reborn by the owners. (more…)
A wee whisper reached Private Frazer’s ears at last night’s PPA Awards (I was one of the waiters) that certain of NatMags’ titles are having a less than pleasant time on the newsstands. The words ‘Cosmopolitan’ and ‘way, way, down’ hung together in one particularly memorable sentence.
An email to NatMags has gone unanswered thus far, but I’ll post any comments that I receive.
More generally, there wasn’t a circulation manager in sight who was looking forward to the next ABCs. “12% down is the new up.” was the best consolation that any of them could manage.