Shape goes pear-shaped after three issues

Contract publisher River Publishing is to close its women’s monthly Shape after just three issues, blaming the downturn in the economy.

The magazine, River’s first consumer title, was pitched as a rival to Psychologies, and was the first big launch into the women’s monthly market since the Hachette Filipacchi title launched in 2005.

Edited by former Elle features director Annabel Meggeson, Shape launched in April with a circulation of 70,000.

Announcing the closure, River Publishing said the decision to launch Shape ‘preceded the current economic downturn that has thrown into question the future potential of the title”.

River managing director Edward Axon said: ‘Like all launches, timing is everything, and unfortunately, when we pushed the button on this project last year, we didn’t foresee the deterioration in the economic climate.

‘We are very proud of the work that went into creating such a fresh and innovative product.”

The Shape brand was used by River Publishing under licence from American Media Incorporated and is currently used in 23 countries.

Dennis Publishing used the brand in the UK in 2004 for a dedicated health and fitness title, in line with the American edition.

At the time of the launch, River Publishing said it chose the Shape name to get the support of a global brand, even though its content was different to the US title.

It now says that despite the backing of a global brand, it has failed to win over advertisers.

‘In a difficult and uncertain market, it had become hard to convince advertisers to commit to a new title,’the company said in a statement.

The last issue of Shape will be the July issue, published this week.

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