NFL Magazine, Soap Opera Weekly Close
While there have been fewer big magazine closures since the dark days of 2008-2010, weak print ad demand and the transition to digital media are still claiming victims. Recent weeks brought the shuttering of NFL Magazine -- a relatively recent arrival, which exited the field after just four issues -- and Soap Opera Weekly, long a staple of grocery store checkout lanes.
NFL Magazine was closed after the NFL ended its business partnership with Dauphin Media Group, which had been publishing the magazine, according to the Sports Business Journal. The monthly magazine, which cost $4.99 on newsstands and $19.99 for a subscription, may have suffered from the perception that it had to pull editorial punches because it was owned by the NFL itself, Ad Age speculates.
Soap Opera Weekly is also closing, publisher American Media Inc. announced, citing a “decline in readership in the soap opera market,” according to Adweek. Per the most recent circulation report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, in the six-month period ending December 2011, Soap Opera Weekly had average newsstand sales of 56,632 and 51,185 paid subscriptions.
That's down from 125,990 newsstand sales and 75,087 paid subscriptions in the six-month period ending December 2007 -- declines of 55% and 32% respectively. Continuing subscriptions will be fulfilled with Soap Opera Digest.
Overall, more magazines are launching than are being shuttered, according to recent figures from Mediafinder.com, an online database of U.S. and Canadian publications. The first quarter of the year saw the debut of 52 titles, versus just 12 titles shuttered, according to the company. However, the ad environment remains challenging, as total ad pages for consumer magazines tracked by the Publishers Information Bureau decreased 8.2% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year.
Time Out NY Bows New Digital Strategy
Time Out New York has unveiled the latest step in a digital media expansion, which includes e-commerce, a new Web site, and new apps for the iPad and iPhone. The new site offers improved search capabilities, faster navigation, and allows visitors to make transactions, including purchasing tickets to theater shows and booking tables at restaurants.
TONY has also partnered with local niche companies to offer subscribers daily discounts and deals for local products and services. The new TONY iPad app is positioned as a personalized, citywide recommendation engine, featuring daily content tailored to the user's individual interests, leveraging technology from LikeCube (recently acquired by TONY) and its personalization algorithm. Its iPad app is launching with MasterCard as a lead sponsor.
Whole Living Debuts On iPad
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia unveiled the iPad version of Whole Living this week. The digital issue, available via the iPad Newsstand, includes the full contents of the magazine as well as bonus features like step-by-step viewing options for all recipes and audio clips from Editor in Chief Alanna Stang and contributors.
MSLO added that beginning with their May issues, the monthly digital editions of Whole Living, Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food are now all optimized for the Retina display on the new iPad. Digital subscriptions for Whole Living, Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food are available for iPad starting at $11.99 for digital-only and $14.99 for print and digital bundles. Single copies are available for purchase starting at $2.99. Current print subscribers receive free access for the length of their print subscription.
Women's Health Unveils iPad App
Another major women's interest title is hitting the iPad with the debut of an interactive version of Women's Health,beginning with the May 2012 issue, available on iTunes for $4.99 beginning April 17. The new interactive version includes video, audio, and stop-motion animations, among other features, allowing users to engage with editorial content more actively. The magazine added new interactive features to favorite content areas including its 15 Minute Workout section and its Scoop Fitness series.
Meredith Raises Rate Base For Eating Well
Meredith Corp. said it plans to increase the rate base for Eating Well for the second time this year, from 500,000 to 600,000, effective with the September-October 2012 issue. That represents an increase of 71% over the same period in 2011. In January, the company raised the rate base from 350,000 to 500,000. Over the last year, the brand has rolled out a number of extensions, including content and brand licensing, custom publishing, and consumer cookbooks and health books. It has also struck licensing partnerships with media outlets including Yahoo and The Huffington Post.
Parents Radio Debuts on Sirius XM
Parents is launching a limited-run six-week-long radio series on Sirius XM Radio, featuring top editors from Parents and experts discussing parenting news, tackling common problems and offering expert advice on health, child behavior and family relationships. The show will include calls from parents across the country; listeners can also ask questions interactively via Facebook and Twitter. “Parents Radio” will launch Saturday, April 14 at 10:00 am EST and will air every Saturday through May 19 from 10:00-11:00 am EST on SiriusXM Stars channel 107.