A shocker about ad budgets – and why

According to a consortium of advertising agencies, ad budgets are down this year. Who woulda thunk?

Seriously, according to B2B, a survey of 40 ICOM agency members indicated that more than half the agencies have seen client budgets drop at least 21% this year.

That seems to have translated directly to the magazine sector. The Seybold Report cites  data that consumer magazine pages were down 25 percent in Q1, with a corresponding decline in “rate card revenue” (that is: it’s just a calculation) of more than 20 percent.

According to the Magazine Publishers of America, this is just more of the same; pages were down about 12 percent in 2008. And various reports put them flat or down slightly in ’07.  So this isn’t just about the recession.

According to Seybold, more than half the respondents to the ICOM survey agreed with this statement: “Budget cuts and new challenges have served as catalysts for clients to come up with new ideas and experimentation to market their products.”

Again, this isn’t just about the recession. This is about businesses deciding that their marketing departments can and should play the role of publisher.

I started observing this bypass about 10 years ago, as my biggest and most sophisticated advertisers  literally started publishing their own magazines. Since then, it’s become easier and less expensive; today you can become a publisher with a website, a blogger and some folks who are really good with Facebook and Twitter.

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