As Winter starts encroaching onto Autumn, there’s nothing Private Frazer likes better than pottering around the garden here at Dunprintin deciding what might grow back in the Spring and what should be uprooted.
A similar experience seems to have taken place at Kelsey Publishing (publishers of those hardy perennials Practical Sheep, Goats & Alpacas and Stationary Engine) as Grow It! magazine is being left to rot on the compost heap of history.
In fact, the magazine may not be the only thing at Kelsey to be pulled out and cast aside as there are rumours of a wee reshuffle among senior management. Any firm news on this to the usual address.
After the Christmas issues have safely been put to bed, the axe falls on the weak and the struggling of a publishing company’s portfolio.
And so it is with Zest, closed “with immediate effect” with the final issue out on December 5th. There are rumours that up to 70 staff across Hearst are going to be made redundant, making the company’s statement that they “will endeavour to find new roles within its portfolio for those staff impacted by the closure” a hot contender in the disingenuous press release of the year awards.
If truth be told the writing was on the wall for Zest after Hearst brought over the Women’s Health brand from the US. Cheaper to produce as it reuses a large amount of stateside content and given more promotional investment, its circulation quickly overtook that of Zest – and why have two products in one portfolio that are essentially the same?
These are interesting times for Hearst and it will pay to keep an eye on them over the next few months. They’ve closed big brands such as She and now Zest, flogged off several titles to Kelsey and others, and are sitting on huge circulation falls in many of their anchor brands. As my old mum used to say “things will get worse before they get even worser“.
It’s taken a while to get some confirmation on this, but Panini have axed Mizz, the magazine for teen and pre-teen girls they bought from IPC back in 2006.
Back in 2005 Mizz sold 70,000 copies, which had dropped to under 30,000 by the end of 2011 and just 25,000 last year.
Some people think that kids are migrating to yon interweb instead of reading print, but that can’t have been true of Mizz readers given that the title’s website would have looked dated back in 2001. In fact – and this is something that I haven’t seen on a magazine website this century – if you wanted to subscribe online to Mizz you had to download a form. Glorious.
After 19 issues, Well Red magazine, an unofficial Liverpool FC fanzine (wouldn’t you know “written by fans, for fans“) has blown for full time.
Magazines closing? Dey do do dat dough don’t dey dough.
The wheel has come off Privateer magazine, the mountain-biking brother to Rouleur, with the announcement that issue 18 will be the last.
Privateer had a hefty – nine English poonds! – cover price, hoping that the market would pay top dollar for high-end production, a non-standard format and limited adverts (see “The Golden Age of Magazines” passim).
There’s a distinct lack of inner calm among the readers of Yoga and Health magazine as it seems the publishers have gone out of business.
They’re not the first company to find themselves stuck in an unfortunate financial position and they won’t be the last.
Bauer’s Golf Illustrated magazine has thrown its clubs into the lake and announced that it won’t see its second birthday.
Golf Illustrated was launched in December 2011 as an exciting new journal … and took the reader on a journey into the game.
That ‘journey’ seems to have been similar to Tiger Woods’ famous car trip – short, confused and ending in a write-off.
While we were all looking the other way, Future have airbrushed Practical Photoshop out of their portfolio.
In the Jan-Dec 2012 ABCs the title reported a circulation of just 8, 265. Even then, this was not Future’s lowest-selling magazine.
With an inevitability that would make an Ancient Greek dramatist utter a long, low whistle of appreciation, the ongoing tragedy of Future Publishing moves into yet another act.
This week Mark “Dead” Wood has announced 55 redundancies – on top of the vacancies that haven’t been filled since it introduced a recruitment freeze in July. Dead has blamed (again) the delay in the launches of new games consoles (an argument wonderfully skewered by MCV in July) and the bumpiness of the road to digital. And expect both these arguments to be taken out for long walks again later in the year.
The underlying problems of Future are twofold – the short termism that being a publicly-quoted company engenders, forever chasing a positive spin to put onto its City trading updates, and the fact that Future has always had pretensions to be a Premiership side when really they’re towards the foot of the Championship. They are not Celtic or Aberdeen, more a Morton or a Cowdenbeath. (more…)
Dirty Des has unplugged TV Pick after just five months, after the price war it initiated failed to grind out sufficient market share from Bauer and IPC’s TV listings weeklies for it to be sustainable.
Might it be that the finances at Northern + Shell overall are starting to look a little weak? The last ABCs showed a descent for New, Star and OK! that was rapid enough to cause blackouts, and OK! has cut its price to £1 in an (ultimately futile) attempt to shore up its circulation. This will be making a sizeable hole in N+S’s revenue, and it might be that they don’t have the stomach (or the war chest) for a long fight.
At the launch of TV Pick, Northern & Shell’s group editorial director Paul Ashford, said: “The launch of TV Pick underlines our commitment to the magazine sector.” Presumably its closure underlines allows us to conclude that N+S might be retreating from it.
The longest-lasting effect of this woeful venture will probably be on the finances of independent newsagents, who have had to endure months of price cuts in one of the few newsstand markets that was relatively robust.