Despite years of dwindling page-counts, advertisers and audiences, an October survey of industry experts shows that professionals working at magazine brands appear unexpectedly confident on the future of the magazine-media landscape.

According to the survey, conducted by magazine industry news site Folio, a reason for this rests on one key area of where activity seems to be booming: events.

Nearly 54 percent of respondents said that publisher-branded events — trade shows, exhibits, sponsorships and other live opportunities that forge partnerships between media brands and advertisers — will be a top source of growth within the next year.

About a quarter (23 percent) of magazine pros surveyed said events now comprise the fastest growing part of their business, although a greater share (44 percent) said digital media currently claims that role. Content marketing and print followed, at 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Folio study: What will drive growth for you in 2018?

Apparently, the publisher-branded event landscape has the magazine media industry feeling uncharacteristically bullish in 2017, as nearly 70 percent of the survey’s respondents said they now anticipate their revenue to grow within the next year, with nearly 40 percent expecting double-digit gains, while 30 percent claim they expect growth to hover somewhere in the single digits.

A quarter of respondents said they expect revenue for 2018 to be flat, and only five percent said they expect to experience a decline next year.

Nearly half of magazine-media pros polled (46 percent) also cited print and digital advertising opportunities as big areas of growth within the coming year. Marketing services such as white papers, webinars and special eblasts followed closely behind, at 36 percent. By contrast, only 18 percent believe the sale of supplemental materials will drive growth. Subscriptions bottomed out the list, at only10 percent.

When asked what will comprise their magazine brand’s top priority for investment in the next year, about a quarter (23 percent) said it will be database management tools, followed by hiring new skillsets and print spinoff brands (both 15.3 percent).

Data for Folio’s survey was collected in August and September, with respondents representing a range of media sectors, including mass and niche consumer pubs as well as B2B and association outlets.