19: relaunch failed to revitalise sales
Staff on 19 were told of its closure as the last pages of the June issue were going to bed.
The issue, which is believed to have included an interview with singer Avril Lavigne, will never see the light of day following IPC’s decision to close the magazine this week.
The news came just weeks after the relaunch in which 19 expanded its coverage of fashion, beauty, celebrities and men in a bid to improve sales.
Publishing director Kirsten Lee said early sales figures from wholesale were 30 per cent down year-on-year and no extent of promotion could work.
“The relaunch did not perform as well as we had hoped. It fuelled our belief that this area of the market has disappeared and there is no inbetween stage between teen magazines and the fashion market.
Teenagers are growing up more quickly,” Lee said.
The magazine had faced growing competition from Emap’s More!, which had received extra investment and repositioned itself as a slightly older glossy to compete with Glamour.
Lee said Hachette’s B was also targeting older readers. She claimed that after the younger teen titles, readers were moving straight on to older glossies.
The highest ABC in the past 10 years for 19 was in 1995 when it reported a sale of 217,000. The latest ABC dropped 26.2 per cent to 81,000.
The closure has left 13 editorial staff and several freelances without jobs, although IPC said it would try to find positions for as many as possible within the company.
Editor Helen Bazvuaye said the team were “lost for words”.
She told Press Gazette: “19 has lived with rumours of closure for ages but none of us had a clue it was coming. It took us all by surprise. I’ve led the team for nearly two years and it’s a real shame, but 19 is in a very competitive market where heavyweight covermounting is crucial and it’s no longer enough to have great editorial.”
The move came a week after the closure of one of Emap’s biggest teen titles, J-17, which was also shedding sales, albeit at the younger end of the market.
Despite the closure, Bazvuaye said the teen market was still very vibrant.
She added: “I hope publishers will stick with it, because it would be a shame for the diversity and innovation to be lost simply because people think there is no room for niche titles.
By Ruth Addicott