Specialty Journal Ad Review: Floundering Fortunes

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PERQ/HCI's Journal Ad Review (JAR) of specialty journals for the full year 2005 shows little respite from the slump that greeted specialty sectors in the first six months of last year. Only three of the eight specialty markets registered increases in advertising spending. Those reporting gains were led by ophthalmology (up 8%), followed by hospital management (up 7%) and nursing (up 2%).

Of the five with losses, pharmacy had the biggest decline (down 9%), followed by laboratories (down 6%). Others that declined were off 1%–2%.

When measured on an ad-page basis, the eight markets were down 4.2%. In terms of ad revenues, the overall decline was 2% (see Fig. 1). A brief review of the key specialty markets follows.

Pharmacy journals in free fall
The 6% decline in ad spending registered by pharmacy journals during the first six months of 2005 accelerated during the second half, with the end result being a 9% loss for full year 2005. For the previous year, the segment had posted a 4% increase.

The decline can be traced in large part to significant cuts in ad budgets by the prior year's top four advertisers (Fig. 2a). Pfizer, which repeated in 1st place, had a 45% reduction, while AstraZeneca, which advanced from 4th to 2nd, did so even as expenditures were reduced by 22%. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA repeated in 3rd after cutting spending by 26%, and Forest Pharmaceuticals, previously 2nd, dropped to 4th place following a 51% reduction in ad outlays.

Meanwhile, Lilly slipped from 6th to 7th as expenditures were reduced by 37% and the BMS/Otsuka partnership that markets Abilify dropped from 5th to 8th following a 51% cut in spending.

Companies that increased ad budgets include Wyeth (up 61%), which climbed from 17th to 5th, and Mylan Pharmaceuticals (up 14%), which rose from 10th to 6th. Also rising were Roxane Laboratories (up 22%) to 9th place, and the Genentech Bio Oncology and (OSI) Oncology alliance that markets Tarceva (up 298%) to 10th.

All but two products/services—a Mylan corporate ad in 3rd and Lilly's Cymbalta in 6th—were new to the top 10 (Fig. 2b). Newly advertised products include Tarceva which took the number 1 spot, while Abilify, a new mood disorder/antipsychotic, was 2nd, and Pfizer's Lyrica, for diabetic nerve pain, was 4th. Forest's Combunox was 8th and Wyeth's new antibiotic, Tygacil IV, ranked 10th.  

Ophthalmology journals ride opportunities
Once again, spending in ophthalmology journals during 2005 grew at a faster rate than that observed with other specialty segments. The increase for 2005 was 8%, following a 12% gain the prior year.
Alcon Laboratories continued to dominate in 1st place with a 16% share of ad spending (Fig. 3a), while Allergan retained the number two spot with a 9% share. These two companies each have three products in the top 10. Once again, 3rd went to Advanced Medical Optics. Bausch & Lomb moved up from 6th to 4th following a 121% increase in ad outlays, due largely to the introduction of Zylet Ophthalmic Suspension, and Eyetech Pharmaceuticals/Pfizer Ophthalmics jumped from 40th to 5th with the introduction of Macugen.

Ista Pharmaceuticals advanced to 6th with a number of new products, including Xibrom Ophthalmic Solution and Vitrase. Genentech advanced from 11th to 7th as ad expenditures increased by 112%, while Pfizer Ophthalmics slipped from 4th to 8th as ad outlays dropped 64%. Carl Zeiss Meditec slipped two spots to 9th, while Nidex was unchanged in 10th place.

Macugen, a new product for age-related macular degeneration took 1st place in the brands (Fig. 3b), while Alcon's Travatan advanced from 7th to 2nd on a 27% increase in spending, as Allergan's Lumigan edged up one spot to 3rd. Lower ad outlays for Allergan's Zymar resulted in a drop from 3rd to 4th while Alcon's Vigamox fell from 2nd to 5th following a 19% budget cut.

Moving into the top 10 were Allergan's Restasis (up from 14th to 6th) and Genentech Ophthalmic Products (up from 13 to 8th). Completing the top group were Customvue for Laser Vision Correction, up from 8th to 7th, Pfizer Ophthalmics' Xalatan, down from 1st to 9th following a 56% cut in spending, and Alcon's Infinity Vision System, down one place to 10th. 

Optometry journals take a tumble 
Optometry journals posted a 1% decline in ad expenditures in 2005. This loss follows a 9% increase in 2004.

All but two of the companies in 2004's top 10 repeated in 2005 (Fig. 4a). Alcon Laboratories and the Essilor Group retained the top two spots with ad spending increases of 15% and 24%, respectively. CIBA Vision advanced from 4th to 3rd following an 83% boost in spending, while Bausch & Lomb climbed from 15th to 4th as ad outlays increased by 101%. The other company moving into the top group (up from 47th to 10th) was Shamir Insight, which boosted spending largely due to their new Attitude Progressive Addition Lenses.

Year to year, there is generally considerable change in the products that make up the top 10 list, and 2005 was no exception as only four carried over from 2004 (Fig. 4b): Travatan Ophthalmic Solution, up from 9th to 1st on a 51% boost in spending, and Vision Expo, unchanged in 4th place. Alcon's No Rub Opti-Free Express Solution advanced two spots to 5th, while Transitions Lenses dropped from 1st to 8th as ad spending was cut by 58%. Previously advertised products moving onto the top 10 list include CIBA Vision's Night & Day/020PTIX Soft Contact Lens, up from 372nd to 2nd, and the Eye Design Catalog/Brochure, up from 23rd to 9th. New entries that were advertised during 2005 include Vistakon's Accuvue Advance for Astigmatism Lens (3rd), the Sonogage Pachometer (6th), Three Rivers Optical Transitions V with ESP (7th) and Shamir's Attitude Progressive Additions Lenses (10th).

The other specialties
Ad spending in radiology journals dropped by 2% during 2005. In 2004, this segment had a loss of 7%.
GE Healthcare is the clear number one advertiser, advancing from 3rd to 1st as ad outlays increased by 125%. Siemens Medical Systems and Phillips Medical Systems slipped to 2nd and 3rd, respectively, while IBM climbed to 4th with a 96% boost in outlays.

At the product level, Magnevist, from Berlex, edged up from 2nd to 1st place following an 8% boost in spending. Newly advertised Multihance Diagnostic X-Ray Media from Bracco Diagnostics was 2nd, while NEC MD Series Displays jumped from 69th to 3rd after increasing ad outlays by 294%. New from IBM is Information Based Medicare (4th), and IBM's Life Sciences Imaging Computers slipped from 3rd to 5th.

After registering a marginal gain of 1% during the first half of 2005, spending in dental journals ended the year with a 2% decline, following a 7% increase during 2004.

Discus Dental advanced from 8th to 1st due largely to higher ad expenditures for the Zoom 2 Whitening System and Zip Premium Diamond Bars. Ultradent slipped from 1st to 2nd following a 24% cut in ad outlays, and Forest Pharmaceuticals, the only company new to the top 10, ranked 3rd due to the introduction of Combunox, an oxycodone/ibuprofen combination. 

This segment typically sees significant turnover at the product level, and 2005 was no exception. Three new product introductions that moved into the top 10 include Forest's Combunox (1st), Suni Medical Imaging's Digital Radiography (8th) and Colgate's 360 Whole Mouth Clean (9th). 

Hospital management was one of only three specialty journal segments that recorded an increase (up 7%) in spending during 2005. This market also had gains of 7% in both 2004 and 2003.

Only four companies that made the top 10 during 2004 repeated in 2005. Included in this group were Siemens Medical Systems, unchanged in the number one spot, and Wellspring Partners, a provider of financial services, up from 10th to 2nd on a 61% increase in ad spending. Phillips Medical Systems slipped from 3rd to 7th even though ad expenditures were reduced by only 2%.

Services related to information, finance and management systems are where the ad dollars are spent in this market. The most advertised service, Siemens' Soarian Information Solution, rose from 2nd to 1st even as outlays dropped 18%, while Wellspring Partners' Finance Services advanced to 2nd on a 46% boost in outlays.

During 2005, spending in laboratory journals declined by 6%. This loss follows a gain of 6% in 2004. Olympus America moved up from 2nd to 1st, and Roche Diagnostics advanced from 3rd to 2nd. Beckman Coulter climbed from 7th to 3rd even though outlays only rose by 4%, and Ortho-
Clinical Diagnostics retained 4th place as ad budgets were cut by 29%.

On the products side, Olympus Hospital Laboratory Products was up from 6th to 1st even though ad outlays increased by just 5%, and Roche Diagnostic's Fully Auto CHF Assay climbed from 8th to 2nd following a 13% increase in spending.

After reporting a 6% decline in ad expenditures during 2004, spending in nursing journals registered a marginal 2% gain in 2005. Of note is that on an ad-page basis, nursing journals grew by 10%.
Nurses Service Organization, a liability insurance provider, retained the number one spot, while Supplemental Health Care Services and Cross Country Travcorps, both involved in staffing/recruitment, repeated in 2nd and 3rd place. American Traveler advanced from 6th to 4th even though ad spending declined by 14%.

Liability Insurance for Nurses, Supplemental Health Care Staff Recruitment and Cross Country Travcorps Recruitment retained the top three positions. 

Eugene M. May is director of marketing research at ACNielsen HCI
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