Automakers have been pulling their ads out of magazines faster than A-Rod pulled out of Madonna before the tabloids caught him cheating on his wife. Advertising Age proclaims this week that the "death of Detroit would wallop the ad world."
While this has put a huge hurt on magazines, there's one category which will have a hard time escaping the momentum: the automobile category.
Consider the percentages of magazine revenue derived from the automobile industry, as cited in the same Advertising Age article: "24.9% and 19% for Source Interlink's Automobile and Motor Trend, respectively, and 15.7% for Hachette's Car and Driver."
Through the first three quarters of 2008, compared to one year ago, automotive advertising is down 23.6%, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. That's more than any other category they measure.
Next to shelter magazines, this is where we are going to see some Reaper visits over the next six months. These titles will be either merging or the magazine versions will be croaking, giving way to web only properties. Considering how much car shopping research is already done on the Internet, auto magazines are dead ducks.
Even if Uncle Sam bailed out Detroit, the Reaper sees this category as a road to no return. Your father's copies of Car and Driver and Road & Track are going to become collector's items, relics of another era.
The Reaper is sentimental about those oldies about car accidents. Remember Leader of the Pack? Or Teen Angel? Tell Laura I Love Her? They bring a tear to the missing ducts on the Reaper's face. However, there'll be no crawling from the wreckage this time.