Found the Pulse: Print Ad Making a Big Recovery in Med Journals

NEJMcoverThe print journal business is a bit like the fourth hour of a Bruce Springsteen concert: No one expected it to go on this long, but they’re glad it did.

Calling print’s resurgence “thoroughly legitimized by the latest industry numbers,” James Chase has some strong words of support for print advertising to medical professionals.

“Medical-surgical print journal spending in 2015 was up 8.4% to $372 million, according to data from Kantar Media, building on similar gains a year ago and inching closer to 2011’s modern-day peak of $405 million. Concurrently, the total number of medical-surgical print ad pages in 2015 rose by 7.9% to 64,547,” Chase explains in MMMOnline.

“While these numbers describe only the print components of the business, there’s every reason to believe they’re indicative of a rising tide across the gamut of channels,” he continues.

Lori Raskin, a director at Frontline Medical Communications and the current president of the Association of Medical Media, concurs: “Everything that we’re doing is basically trending upward,” Raskin notes. “Publishers have embraced the technologies and have continually expanded their offerings. And while there is no [comparison] data available, it’s safe to say that non-print revenues have increased, too.”

Some of this growth can be explained by the high rate of drug approvals last year by the FDA, which always spurs a spate of new print ads. It shows that pharmaceutical brands still rely heavily on print advertising to build awareness and establish new brands among the medical profession.

Chase provides some interesting stats in his article, including the top 5 medical journals in terms of ad revenue. The always-popular New England Journal of Medicine saw a 35% spike in ad pages last year vs. 2014.

“Apart from new product approvals, Raskin says other factors helping to propel the print markets include a spate of cover tips, multisponsored supplements, and larger ad units for products with multiple indications,” Chase continues.

“Make no mistake, print is still relevant,” he asserts, noting that yes, digital is important too, but it certainly hasn’t replaced print as a vehicle of choice to reach this professional audience.