Mag Bag: Playboy Will Cut Base By Over One-Third

Sad Playboy Bunny IconPlayboy Will Cut Base By Over One-Third

The nation's largest men's magazine soon won't be, as Playboy plans to cut its rate base from 2.6 million to 1.5 million beginning in January -- a 38% drop, according to Mediaweek, which reported the news earlier this week. As part of the circulation shakeup, the famed title is also planning to combine its upcoming January and February issues, following an earlier frequency reduction which combined its July and August issues.

The rate base cutback means that Playboy will cede the top spot to Maxim, with a rate base of 2.5 million, as the nation's largest men's magazine. With the exception of Playboy , most major men's lifestyle magazines have held steady or increased over the last couple of years, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

At 2,537,130 in the six-month period ending June 2009, Maxim is virtually unchanged from 2,579,116 in the first half of 2006. In the same comparison, Details increased 12.8%, from 418,137 to 471,860, Esquire hardly moved from 710,826 to 712,942, and GQ grew 9.5% from 852,510 to 934,033. Men's Health is also virtually unchanged, going from 1,856,161 in 2006 to 1,859,643 in 2009.

The situation is quite different for more risqué titles, however. According to ABC, Playboy's total paid circulation tumbled from just over 3 million in the first half of 2006 to 2.45 million in the first half of 2009 -- an 18.4% drop. In the same period, Penthouse's total circulation fell 37% from 366,024 to 231,073. Meanwhile, FHM -- another risqué (although minimally clothed) title -- closed in December 2006.

In terms of ad pages, men's lifestyle magazines have had mixed fortunes in 2009, with some faring (relatively) well while others are taking big hits. In the third quarter of 2009, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, ad pages fell 33.6% at Details, 34.4% at GQ, 14.8% at Maxim, 23.7% at Men's Health -- and a whopping 47.3% at Playboy.

Conde Nast Unveils iPhone App

Conde Nast has developed an app to allow users to read magazines on their iPhones, according to Folio. The program will allow readers to download the entire magazine for $2.99 per month, beginning with the November issue of GQ. After an initial testing period, Conde Nast may extend the offering to include other big titles. Earlier this month, Time Inc., Conde Nast, and Hearst said they were collaborating to develop a new, proprietary e-reader for magazines and newspapers that will compete with Amazon's Kindle, which is viewed as unsatisfactory for magazine content by some publishers and readers.

The Knot Ups Frequency

The print version of The Knot (which began as an online portal for all things wedding-related) is increasing its frequency, moving from a semi-annual to quarterly publication schedule beginning next year, says Folio. The publisher is touting an innovative editorial scheme, in which content will be selected based on the preferences of the Web site's users -- hewing toward more realistic, affordable wedding ideas.

Conde Nast Cuts Keep Coming

The closing of Gourmet, Cookie, Elegant Bride and Modern Bride two weeks ago was hardly the end of the bloodshed at Conde Nast. Following close on the heels of their demise, the high-end publisher also saw varying numbers of layoffs at Brides (the remaining bridal title), Glamour, Vanity Fair, Vogue, W, and Wired, as well as Conde's digital division and sales staff. Although the number keeps changing with each swing of the axe, it seems likely that the total number of layoffs will be in the hundreds.

BusinessWeek EIC Adler Out

Just days after the news of its acquisition by Bloomberg LLC, BusinessWeek magazine experienced its first job cut with the departure of Editor in Chief Stephen Adler. Adler told employees that he will give up his post by the time Bloomberg takes control of the venerable but troubled business title. In his memo announcing the decision, Adler evinced pleasure that BusinessWeek was going into good hands: "It was hugely important to me to help find the right home for BusinessWeek and to work closely with our business-side colleagues to ensure that staffers would be provided appropriate benefits under any circumstance. Now that these goals have been accomplished, I'm considering other opportunities, and I believe it makes sense for a new owner to move forward with a new editor."

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