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“.