'Complex' Shutters Print Edition After 14 Years

Pop-culture magazine Complex will shutter its print edition eight months after it was bought by Verizon and Hearst in a co-ownership deal.

The December/January 2017 issue currently on newsstands will be its last, after 14 years in print.

It’s a tough season for print magazines.

Earlier this month, Publishers Daily reported that Condé Nast was shutting down the print edition of Self after a 38-year run to go digital-only. In November, The New York Observerclosed its weekly print edition after nearly 30 years in print.



Verizon and Hearst announced in April they would jointly acquire Complex Media, a media company founded by fashion designer Marc Ecko with a mostly male millennial audience.

The deal cost between $250 million and $300 million.

At the time, Neeraj Khemlani, co-president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, told The Wall Street Journal that Verizon and Hearst “have been trying to put together a strong portfolio of digital video brands for millennials.”

Hearst had initially invested $21 million in Complex.

Over the last two years, Complex has transitioned from focusing on their digital magazine to a video-first approach, reaching over 50 million unique monthly visitors.

Shutting down the print edition of Complex is likely a move by Hearst and Verizon to focus resources on the publication’s video output.

"As Complex embarks on a rapid expansion of premium video creation across the company’s networks and with a growing list of distribution partners, the company is reallocating certain positions to address its content needs," the company told Billboard in a statement, adding that its “long-term plan” is to become “a leader in digital video entertainment.”

A spokeswoman told Folio that “less than 10%” of staff has been laid off as a result of the decision. Per Billboard, the cuts hit the magazine’s art, marketing and sales departments, as well as some editorial staff.

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