Art Business Brightened by Uptick in Luxury Home Magazine Ad Sales

No matter how successful you are, you are not immune to changes. This means if visual artists have game and can bring it, they can grow their art business at the expense of leaders whose market share once seemed bullet proof.

coffee drinkerThe print magazine business is just another sector that has been unmercifully hammered by the convergent effects of tech-driven changes in consumer information consumption and purchasing habits and a perilous economy.

I am an example. Not that long ago, I read every issue of numerous magazines cover-to-cover, including news magazines, trade magazines, art magazines, woodworking magazines and design magazines.

With 24-hour news and a wealth of information on the Internet, I have considerably cut back using print media. And, overall I spend more cautiously. It’s obvious my changes are reflective of national trends in consumer habits.

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If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there. ~ Will Rogers

No matter how successful you are, you are not immune to changes. This means if visual artists have game and can bring it, they can grow their art business at the expense of leaders whose market share once seemed bullet proof.

As an example of how things change, look at the magazines that cover the home and interior design field. They have seen the worst of times with ad page sales and circulation lows not seen in decades. Not that long ago smart money would have given long odds that Architectural Digest would be ever be surpassed by Elle Decor. And, it would have been wrong.

Vision, planning and execution are the tickets to success

I note the venerable Magazine Publishers Association (MPA) has changed its name to the Association of Magazine Media, which lacks a ring to my ear. No doubt, this is part of its effort to keep abreast of an evolving situation for print media. It will take more than a name change. Success comes from visionary thinking, smart planning and great execution. These are what makes the difference and cosmetic name changes without it won’t save the day. It won’t for visual artists either.

It’s not just a good time to make changes, it is a necessary time to make changes

A recent story from the Associated Press titled Luxury Home Magazines Get Facelifts offers a positive spin on improvement in the luxury home decor market. The piece reports how changes at top interior design publications are being implemented. The idea is for these properties to try new things so they can stay relevant and keep ahead of the herd without losing it. Readers here should take note of this lesson and consider changing things up to try new things as well.

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Ad page sales figures portend well for the art print market

What is truly heartening is the reports of advertising page growth in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor and Traditional Home in 2010. That is a sign that bodes well for the art market. If money is flowing into advertising in the “shelter books”, as the home magazine category is nicknamed, then there has to be confidence the consumer is loosening the wallet and may be ready to spend more liberally in 2011.

I have reports from friends in the decorative art market that the poster business improved in 2010. This is encouraging sign for all visual artists. Still, it’s not all hearts and roses in the art print market. You can look at the trade magazines that serve the art print market and know things remain anemic. For instance, Decor magazine hasn’t had a digital issue or any changes on its website since December.

Trade magazines serving the art print market still hurting

The most recent electronic Art Business News January issue had only 30 pages with many devoted to the Toronto Art Expo, which it is promoting. The digital version of Art World News is a bit more robust with more print advertisers, but still only has 40 total pages. In years past, those books would have carried more than 40 pages of advertising in a January issue.

Ad sales figures like that cannot support a full-time magazine staff. So, we are still not out of the woods with the fate of art print publications, which a terrible shame because when they function as they are capable, they offer the industry leadership, experience and opportunity. The good news from the luxury home publications means if their page growth trend holds up it will help the art print and decorative market as well. Let’s hope so.

Art Expo New York remains an industry bellwether

The 32nd Art Expo New York convenes at the end of March. It is aiming for 400 exhibitors. The Toronto Art Expo has about the same target. These are well off the peak years, especially for the New York show. Let’s hope for good weather in New York and a decent turnout from buyers. Should these factors occur and the trending good news from the shelter books continues, the result could significantly boost morale and outlook for the remainder of 2011in the art business.

How to Profit from the Art Print Market – 2nd Edition sales are robust

From the very positive sales figures of my newly published and completely rewritten second edition, it appears artists are hungry for useful timely information to help them navigate the art print market today. I can’t complain about the book zooming to a top spot on a couple of Amazon.com categories, “Business of Art” and “Prints.”

Sales through this blog and my www.BarneyDavey.com website have exceeded my expectations. Naturally, that is good news for me. Moreover, I believe the optimism shown by the sales of the book is a good harbinger of improving opportunities in the art print market.

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Barney Davey

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

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