Gannett To Launch 'Open Air', MSLO Shutters 'Blueprint'

USA Today announced it would publish a new quarterly lifestyle magazine, Open Air, in the new year. At the same time, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia closed Blueprint, which targeted young women. The dual reports underscore the volatility of the magazine marketplace.

The first edition of USA Today's Open Air will appear March 7, 2008 as an insert in the newspaper, followed by subsequent editions on May 2, Sept. 5 and Nov. 7. The magazine focuses on active lifestyles for affluent consumers, including outdoor sports, travel and tourism and nutrition. The pub appears to compete with titles like Outside, Outdoor Life, Men's Journal, and Best Life.

According to Gannett, publisher of USA Today, the first edition of the 8.5-inch x 10.5 inch glossy will be 68 pages, with 27 pages of ads. The magazine also launches with its own Web portal on the USA Today site: USA Today claims a total readership of 3.9 million.



Open Air is one of a series of new magazine launches by national newspapers trying to expand their interaction with readers. In early 2008, The Wall Street Journal will launch Pursuits, a weekend magazine covering lifestyles and leisure, in its United States, Europe, and Asia editions. The New York Times has produced a flurry of launches, including T, covering style, Play, covering sports, and Key, covering real estate.

Tabloids are also getting in on the act. The New York Post launched its new weekly Page Six Magazine, inserted in the paper's Sunday edition, that includes an expanded version of the newspaper's popular "Page Six" gossip column.

These new launches provide an interesting contrast to a series of magazine closures in 2007--most recently Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's Blueprint, launched in 2006 to target women just starting their families and careers. Although the magazine will cease stand-alone publication with its January-February 2008 issue, it will continue to appear as a series of special-interest issues, packaged with Martha Stewart Weddings. The magazine's blog, Bluelines, will remain intact.

Susan Lyne, president and CEO of MSLO, said: "Weddings and Blueprint appeal to women at a similar life stage, and we believe this strategy will allow us to better leverage the synergistic relationship between the two publications."

Blueprint joins a list of magazines--many high-circ--that closed in 2007, including Disney Adventure, Nick Jr. Family Magazine, Child, Life, Premiere, Jane, Stuff, Vibe Vixen, Business 2.0, House & Garden, Tango, and Travel + Leisure Family.

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