Shattock: PS seeking buyer
Journalists in the fashion, IT and men’s sectors were hit by further job losses this week as three more magazines faced closure.
Dennis Publishing folded computer gaming and lifestyle magazine PC Gear and suspended women’s shopping title PS. Also this week, Cabal Communications suspended Mondo, its men’s magazine aimed at the post-Loaded generation. All three titles launched within the past 15 months.
The closure and suspensions have been blamed on a general decline in advertising, aggressive new launches against the titles and failure to make an impact on the news-stands.
Twenty-six editorial staff were affected at Dennis, including 15 on PS and 11 on PC Gear. Staff on PS were waiting to hear whether the title would be bought, with Time Inc and Emap tipped as interested parties.
PS editor Rachel Shattock said that a buyer would have to be prepared to stay for the medium to long haul, rather than seeking "a short-term fix".
She said the pressure to use cover-mounts was more intense than ever and it was money and marketing that was keeping even the biggest titles afloat. "If you haven’t got a cover-mount you are invisible," Shattock said. "It has got to the stage where editors compliment each other on their cover-mounts and that’s a tragedy. It is very tough and competitive and it is ridiculous to pretend otherwise." Publishers have also expressed concern at bulk sales, which are used increasingly to inflate ABC figures.
Shattock said the women’s glossy market had been shaken by the launch of CondÅ½ Nast’s Glamour, backed by a £15m advertising campaign over four years. Nova, Escape Routes and Woman’s Realm have all closed in recent weeks while Minx, Aura, Limb by Limb, Touch and Level folded in the past 12 months.
Industry insiders believe more closures may follow. Speculation centres on the intensely competitive women’s market as well as a men’s title.
A source close to Cabal criticised the company for launching Mondo with a print run in excess of 200,000 but without enough promotion. "It should have been launched on a small, cult level where they just let people discover it," he said.
By Ruth Addicott