Source Interlink Closes Distribution Arm, Shutters 12 Titles

Things aren’t getting any easier for print magazines; this time for enthusiast publisher Source Interlink Media, which is closing its wholesale distribution arm, resulting in thousands of layoffs.
On the publishing side, Source Interlink Media announced that it is shuttering 12 publications in the automotive enthusiast niche, with a mostly male audience of readers interested in customizing cars for performance and appearance. The list of closed titles includes Popular Hot Rodding, Rod & Custom, High Performance Pontiac, Custom Classic Trucks, 4 Wheel Drive & SUV, Mud Life, 5.0 Mustang, Modified Mustangs & Fords, Camaro Performers, GM Hi-Tech, Import Tuner and Honda Tuning.
All these titles had relatively small print circulations, and in some cases had declined a fair amount in recent years. Popular Hot Rodding, one of the larger titles, had a total paid and verified circulation of 109,512 in June 2013, down from 154,337 in June 2004. On the other hand, Rod & Custom had a circulation of 111,961 in June 2013 -- basically unchanged from 119,098 a decade ago. The shuttering of these titles will require layoffs for around 100 employees.
Under the new regime, editorial content from these magazines will be folded into larger niche titles. As part of the reorganization Source Interlink Media, which still publishes dozens of other enthusiast titles, including Automobile and Motor Trend, is also rebranding the publishing division as TEN:The Enthusiast Network.
The company’s wholesale magazine distribution arm, Source Interlink Distribution, is shutting down completely following the announcement earlier this week that Time Inc., one of its largest distribution customers, is cancelling its deal with Source. The closure of Source Interlink Distribution will affect around 6,000 employees, according to CEO Michael Sullivan.
Time Inc. and Source had previously tussled over the terms of their wholesale distribution agreement in 2009, as print magazines felt the effects of digital competition and many retailers began to give them less shelf space. When Source tried to raise the price of distribution services on a per-copy basis, Time Inc. joined forces with other publishers to threaten to pull their business from Source, prompting the latter to file an anti-trust lawsuit that was eventually settled out of court.

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