Bauer Magazines

Bauer has cut another of its longest-running magazines, Cosmopolitan Australia, signalling another death knell for the magazine publishing business. The Australian edition of the women’s magazine, published under license from troubled US mag publisher Hearst, will publish its last edition in December after 45 years of the local edition.

Bauer Media CEO Paul Dykzeul said in a statement yesterday that the magazine wasn’t viable. “It has not been an easy decision to make, however, the commercial viability of the magazine in Australia is no longer sustainable,” he said. “Magazine closures are never easy, desirable or done without careful consideration for all of those involved.”

“Those involved”, will include 11 jobs that the company says it will try to redeploy across the company. The current editor, Lorna Gray, was promoted to the job just three months ago, replacing Keshnee Kemp, who defected to rival publisher Pacific Magazines.

The closure marks yet another consolidation for Bauer Media — the German company that bought the Australian magazine publisher ACP in 2012. In the past couple of years it’s closed marquee titles CleoDollyMen’s Style, and others.

The company has also been consolidating and restructuring this year in its digital team, at a cost of 11 jobs, and is now sharing some content between titles including Woman’s Day, OK Magazine and NW. The Australian Women’s Weekly was also restructured, with the company only confirming that “a small number of people” would be affected.

Other Hearst titles that Bauer publishes under licence include Elle, which recorded readership down 6.9% in the year to 2018, and Harper’s Bazaar, which was up 3.9%, according to Roy Morgan figures.

Bauer in Australia has been troubled for some time — in 2016, it was reported to be worth only a quarter of what the company paid for it. Earlier this year, a long legal battle with actress Rebel Wilson drew to a close with Bauer winning an appeal against a record $4.5 million defamation payout. Bauer has struggled to adapt its German publishing model to the Australian industry, but the magazine industry more broadly has faced a tightening advertising market and dropping sales — magazine revenue has halved in the past 10 years.

Bauer’s rival Pacific Magazines closed FAMOUS, one of its marquee celebrity titles, in 2016, as well as a handful of other titles.

In the US, Hearst last week booted its local editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Michele Promaulayko as well as Seventeen executive director Joey Bartolomeo and House Beautiful editorial director Sophie Donelson. It has also restructured some of its operations, with some executives taking on multiple roles and publications, Huff Post reported. As part of this shakeup, 35 jobs were cut across the US business

Conde Nast, home to some of the world’s most prestigious magazines including Vanity Fair, Vogue and The New Yorker, has also been restructuring for the past couple of years. It laid off 80 staff last year, and is now trying to sell Brides, Golf Digest and W.

Peter Fray

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