United Business Media to close Theme magazine

Business publisher United Business Media is to close its 15 year-old bar and restaurant sector title, Theme magazine.

The company, which also publishes Property Week and Building magazine in the UK, sent a memo to staff yesterday informing them that the current issue of the monthly title would be its last.

The memo – seen by Press Gazette – sent from Martin Wright, sales director of UBM’s Licensed Trade Group, said that following a “comprehensive review of the market” it had taken the difficult decision to close the magazine.

The memo stated: “After 15 glorious years providing the UK premium bar and restaurant sector with a wealth of news and information, it became clear that Theme is no longer commercially viable in the current marketplace, despite the industry-wide warmth and respect for its editorial and deep loyalty from its readers.

“The last few years have also seen a change in the way brands interact with their bar operator customers and we felt that in the long-term, Theme would not meet these needs in the same way it has for the last decade and a half.”

The closure is not expected to result in job losses as Theme staff work across a number of publications in the UMB portfolio of licensed business trade titles, including its Publican magazine.

A spokesman for UBM confirmed the magzine’s closure telling Press Gazette that in future content previously carried by Theme would be covered by other titles in the portfolio.

UBM bought Theme magazine and the “Bar” exhibition from Mondiale Publishing in 2005 for £5m in cash.

During the first half of this year, Theme averaged a monthly circulation of 9,584, with around 94 per cent of this coming through controlled free circulation to bars and restaurant businesses.

Its closure comes after UBM predicted in the summer that it would be forced to shut more titles as the magazine world was “significantly over published”.

The company, which also has substantial events and information businesses, revealed in August that it closed 15 print titles in the first half of the year.

During that same period UBM’s operating profit was down 11.3 per cent to £78.3m on revenue down 2.4 per cent to £435m – operating profit from print magazines dropped 77.9 per cent in the first half to £3.3m.

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