We all have heard over and over again that print advertising revenues generally have fallen over the years. We got it. But, we have also been bombarded with the hype that digital advertising is booming and making up for print losses.  According to a recent survey of over 230 consumer publishing CEOs conducted by FOLIO magazine, however, this is hardly the case.

From a revenue perspective, the shift away from print advertising towards digital is minimal – about 2%.  Even this may be an over-estimation.  According to Folio, History says even a 2-percent change might be expecting too much. From 2010 to 2013, respondents have consistently overestimated digital earnings and underestimated how much they’d still rely on print…The takeaway? The print-to-digital transition is happening, but not as fast as people think.”

FOLIO CEO Consumer Magazine Survey Results 2013

FOLIO’s Consumer Magazine Revenue Breakdown 2013

FOLIO Print and Digital Advertising Revenue

FOLIO’s Consumer Magazine Revenue Breakdown 2014

Another interesting thing to note from these charts is that mobile advertising crawled from just 1% to 2%.  Clearly, the reality of mobile and tablet advertising revenue does not live up to all the hype either.

Here are some other interesting tidbits that the survey revealed:

  • Consumer magazines are more profitable than they have been at any point in the last 5 years.
  • Only 4 percent of respondents call the newsstand a priority in 2014. But despite the trends, the newsstand is still the fourth-largest revenue driver for consumer publishers, accounting for nearly 10 percent of total earnings in 2013-only 1 percentage point less than digital advertising.
  • Many feel the magazine market has been ripe for consolidation for a few years now, but it hasn’t happened yet. It’s actually become more fragmented. Competition has gotten tougher with more entrants into the market… More than 20 percent of respondents say they’re anticipating the launch of another magazine or other competitive product next year.

The FOLIO article also mentioned that large publishers spent half of their money three years ago on websites and social media, but now are spending more on CMS (content management for websites) development and video. What would happen if publishers continued to nurture it’s by far #1 source of advertising revenue instead?