Moving house: the title is for sale
Merricks Media has put its celebrity lifestyle title Celebrity Homes up for sale, resulting in four redundancies.
The move comes as IPC pulled the plug on its spoiler, Celebrity Living, after just two issues.
Both titles were hoping to shake up the home-interest market, offering practical advice on how to recreate the homes of celebrities. They hoped to attract readers who were keen on home interiors and had grown up as part of the “celebrity generation” hooked on Heat and Now.
Lisa Doerr, managing director of Merricks Media, said she was in talks with several potential buyers but the September issue of Celebrity Homes will be the last.
“We are in the midst of looking for a buyer,” she told Press Gazette. “It was not the right move for us to continue publishing Celebrity Homes. It is an interesting title but one that needs considerable investment. We’re the number-one publisher in travel and property magazines and that is where we want to concentrate our energies.”
The first issue of Celebrity Homes featured supermodel Helena Christensen in her New York apartment and celebrity hairdresser Trevor Sorbie in his modern waterside pad in London. Its sales of 40,000 failed to reach the target of 60,000 needed to attract advertisers.
IPC announced the launch of Celebrity Living a week after Celebrity Homes was unveiled and undercut the latter’s launch price of £2 by 20p. The company said this week that Celebrity Living was a two shot to test the market – adding that it had no plans to publish any further issues.
“They launched it to spoil our magazine,” Doerr said. “It is fiercely competitive in both the homes and celebrity sectors and falling between the two was very difficult.”
Doerr admitted Celebrity Homes was an ambitious launch but said it would not deter the company. “We will look again at the consumer lifestyle market,” she said. “We are an expanding company and this has not dulled our efforts or expansion plans. It has raised our game and showed that we can launch in other markets. You will see further launches this year.”
By Ruth Addicott