Daimler deal prompts Brooklands to redeploy C4 mag staff

Brooklands Group has claimed it will redeploy resources from the sale or closure of four of its Channel 4 tie-in magazines after winning the bid to publish the DaimlerChrysler group's range of customer publications.

Location Location Location, Supernanny, You Are What You Eat and Property Ladder will cease publication by the end of the year unless buyers can be found for the monthly magazines. Of the 50 staff across editorial and commercial who have or will be made redundant from the move, 30 have already been redeployed within the organisation, according to Brooklands chief executive Darren Styles, who said that staff at the company had gone down from "104 to the low 80s" and that approximately 12 journalists will lose their jobs.

Styles said that although You Are What You Eat sold approximately 50,000 copies a month and was "a fit and healthy magazine", collectively the titles were unprofitable, with the publisher unwilling to invest further in them.

He added: "The four titles collectively weren't profitable, but all of them were launched in the last couple of years and some were moving faster towards profitability than others. As a business, we have to look at the opportunities in front of us and make a decision as to whether we are prepared to invest another two years in Supernanny in light of the other opportunities available. We really had to be a bit brutal about it."

The DaimlerChrysler deal will take Brooklands back into its traditional arena of customer publishing. It secured the deal to publish the car manufacturer's customer magazines on an international basis in a joint venture with the contract publishing division of American publishing giant the Meredith Corporation.

The successful joint bid ousted Haymarket, which previously published the company's titles internationally, with Meredith covering the US territory. Brooklands and Meredith will work from the same templates to produce 20 editions across 14 languages. Steven Watt, former editor of Lexus magazine, will oversee the titles.

Styles denied that the move away from consumer magazines was a strategic retreat into customer publishing and that its planned Spring launch for another Channel 4 tie-in, music title Popworld Pulp, was now in doubt. He said: "We started as a customer publisher, but we added so much onto it [that] our turnover is split in equal thirds, between consumer magazines, customer magazines and exhibitions."

On the new music title, Popworld Pulp, Styles added: "There's not a question mark against it at all. We have a team of 10 working on pilot issues, and a full printed dummy will go out to record companies and agencies in next few weeks. The investment in that title is absolutely ring-fenced."

Ex Smash Hits! deputy editor Hannah Verdier will be Popworld Pulp's editor with Colin Hubbuck, who led the production launch team of Emap's Zoo overseeing production duties at the title.

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