Annual Edition 'Buying Power of
Black America' report breaks down billions in expenditures Black
consumers are responding to tighter economic condition by focusing more of
their spending on items and services that improve their homes and
lifestyle. That's one of the trends revealed in the 15th annual report,
"The Buying Power of Black America," published by Target Market News. The
report analyzes spending for black households in 2008 and finds that
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Essence advertising rebound may signal coming upward trend for black
17, 2010) Just like their b-to-b counterparts, consumer magazine
publishers have desperately been trying to scratch a profit from any
amount of advertising dollars they can get their hands on, especially
since the economic recession last year. One group that was hit
particularly hard in the marketing pullback was African-American
According to PIB, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Essence and Jet were down a
collective 18 percent in ad pages through the first quarter -- about
double the industry average. Ad pages slipped 8.2 percent at Black
Enterprise while Johnson Publishing's Ebony and Jet saw dramatic
declines of 30.6 percent and 33.1 percent respectively (Johnson points
out, however, that Ebony and Jet both published one fewer issue during
the quarter compared to last year).
Time Inc.'s Essence, meanwhile, reported the smallest decline: -0.3
percent. Since then the magazine been taking advantage of the ad
rebound, and says ad pages have been on the rise since its March issue.
The magazine estimates that ad pages were up 31 percent for May, 14
percent for July and 21 percent so far for August. On the digital side,
online ad revenues are up 32 percent during the first half of 2010
versus the same period in 2010.
"Beauty, retail, food and pharmaceutical are resilient categories for
Essence," Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications, tells
FOLIO:. "In addition, Ford has emerged as a powerful partner, having
supported our signature red carpet programs such as 'Black Women in
Music' and 'Black Women in Hollywood.'"
And according to the most recent info from GfK MRI, Essence grew its
overall audience by 12.1 percent this Spring compared to Spring 2009
(Ebony's audience dipped 1.7 percent, Black Enterprise's declined by 4
percent and Jet's fell by 10.2 percent). Essence says it has managed to
capitalize on that growth, with average paid subscriptions for all
reported issues in 2010 (January to April) in ABC rapid reporting up 3.5
percent versus the same time period last year.
"We're reaching new consumers online and with our live events such as
the Essence Music Festival," Ebanks says. "We have been successful at
converting these audiences to subscribers."
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Ebanks says Essence will
continue to reach out and grow its audience, in print as well as over
online, mobile and social platforms. "We've made multi-media efforts a
major focus and we consistently develop compelling programs that are
integrated across platforms," she says.