Real in limbo as viability is reviewed

Staff on Bauer’s fortnightly magazine Real were left in limbo this week as confusion mounted as to whether the magazine was going to close.

Bauer told staff last Friday the commercial viability of the title was under review and there would be a consultation period regarding its future.

The team of 40 were told to “carry on as normal” and produce issues 18, 19 and 20 until further notice.

The announcement comes three weeks after the appointment of Bauer’s new managing director David Goodchild, who is said to be keen on rationalisation and is known internally as “Mr Spreadsheet”. There is now concern among staff that if the magazine does close, they will only be paid the statutory minimum.

Insiders said they did not know whether to look for jobs elsewhere or carry on in the hope the magazine would be saved. “They have been left in limbo, they have no information,” a source said.

Real showed the biggest growth of all the women’s lifestyle monthlies in the last ABCs – up 27.6 per cent to 205,702. However, insiders say sales have fluctuated due to a drop in cover price and there were concerns it was “leeching cash”. They claim it has also suffered in terms of its positioning on the news-stand. Billed as a fortnightly with the high production values of a monthly glossy, it still had the overtones of a weekly inside.

There are now fears for the future of Bauer’s Total TV Guide, which saw the abrupt departure of its editor and long-standing Bauer employee Lori Miles three weeks ago.

By Ruth Addicott

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