Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No Cheers this Fall: Bauer pulls the plug on Cocktail Weekly

"But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions."
D.H. Lawrence (British Poet, Novelist and Essayist, 1885-1930)

No Cheers this Fall: Bauer pulls the plug on Cocktail Weekly
By Samir Husni

In a very short press release Bauer Publishing announced this afternoon that it has canceled the launch of Cocktail Weekly that was planned for Sept. 24, 2007. The complete press release follows:
Englewood Cliffs, NJ (July 9, 2007) Bauer Publishing today announced that it has canceled the launch of COCKTAIL WEEKLY. Today's announcement reflects the uncertain conditions in the single copy marketplace.

The magazine that would have been the first of its kind on the newsstands (think Cosmo on a weekly basis) was the second casualty today after Jane magazine's news that its August issue will be the last (See here Radar magazine's breaking news on Jane). Is it the newsstand's climate or is it the publishing climate that is causing all these closures. I have advocated at the recent PBAA meeting the need for publishers to rethink the advertising driven publishing model in this country and go back to the circulation driven model, but I guess it will take time and few more casualties before the industry starts rethinking its practices. The question is do we have the time? Well, only time will show. . .

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Adieu: 'Jane' Shutters After 10 Years
by Erik Sass
Jane will cease publication after its August issue, Conde Nast announced Monday. The storied women's magazine is the latest title added to the growing heap of consumer magazine corpses axed this year.
Jane joins Time Inc.'s Child and Life magazines, both of which folded in March, and the print edition of Hachette Filipacchi's Premiere, which closed in April. Unlike these publications, which kept an online presence, Jane's Web site is also history.

In a memo to employees, Chuck Townsend, Condé Nast Publications president and CEO, was quoted as saying: "We've come to believe this magazine and Web site will not fulfill our long-term business expectation."

Founded by Jane Pratt in 1997, the title delivered the second-wave feminist editorial mission of Sassy, another Pratt creation that folded in 1994. Both magazines featured writing that was more thoughtful than most women's magazines, flavored with a sense of irreverent fun.

After a strong start, however, the magazine seemed to lose its momentum earlier in this decade. It struggled to differentiate itself in a competitive landscape, where women's fashion and lifestyle magazines were proliferating.

In 2002, publisher Fairchild publications merged with Conde Nast, and in 2005, Pratt resigned as the magazine's publisher, replaced by Carlos LaMadrid as publisher, with Brandon Holley serving as editor in chief. LaMadrid and Holley led a major redesign of the magazine in April 2006, upping the mag's fashion and beauty content. But the makeover did little to buoy its fortunes. Last year, ad pages tumbled 20% compared to 2005.

Ad pages have rebounded somewhat since then, with a 35% increase in the first three months of 2007 compared to 2006. But with 93 total pages in the first quarter--for an annualized rate of 372--that's way down from 750 pages in 2005. Second-quarter figures aren't yet available from the Publisher's Information Bureau.

Roberta Garfinkle, senior vice president of print strategy for Targetcast tcm, memorialized the magazine in the following terms: "It's sad. I always liked it, going back to the beginning. It was a good magazine, one of the few that spoke to this female audience [19-34]." Garfinkle recalled that Jane was also "part of this generation of magazines that really spoke in the voice of the founding editor."

But this proved to be a double-edged sword: "Once the founding editor was gone," says Garfinkle, "the magazine really floundered." Separately, Bauer Publishing has canceled Cocktail, a weekly magazine targeting young women with snarky celebrity gossip and fashion advice. The magazine launch was nixed because of "uncertain conditions in the single-copy marketplace."

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