Alpha Media Man Down... Hachette's Home Closes...

Kent Brownridge steps down... No longer Home...

NO LONGER HOME: The shelter category lost another title Wednesday with the closing of Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Home magazine with its October issue, a move long predicted. A spokeswoman for Hachette said about a dozen employees were affected on both the business and the editorial sides, and that the company was searching for positions for at least some of them, including publisher John H. Grant.

Though the title had largely slipped off the media radar, the symptoms of decline were stark for anyone paying attention: editor in chief Olivia Monjo died in May, but Hachette had not yet moved to replace her; the company reorganized its shelter group to cross-sell luxury advertising with Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home, leaving Home out in the cold; ad pages were down 30.9 percent in the first half of the year, to 206 pages, a significant decline even in a challenged category, and Home’s circulation shrank from over a million five years ago to about 800,000. And in an increasingly niche-oriented magazine industry, Home never quite established a strong brand presence. A company statement Wednesday, attributed the move to a “steep decline in the middle market for the shelter category.” Hachette president and chief executive officer Jack Kliger made the decision at the end of his tenure in that position.

Overall, the shelter category has seen the exits of Condé Nast’s House & Garden and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s Blueprint, as well as the scaling back of Vogue Living. But major shelter titles’ ad business hasn’t been totally undermined by the housing bust and the overall grim economy. Pages in the first half of 2008 were up for Architectural Digest (up 3.9 percent, to 816 pages), House Beautiful (up 13.4 percent, to 374.5 pages), and Home’s still-extant sister titles at Hachette (Elle Decor was up 2.1 percent, to 578 pages, and Metropolitan Home was up 3.9 percent, to 494 pages). Domino was flat at 307 pages. A more mass-market and probably more comparable title, Better Homes & Gardens, still pulled in 840 pages in the first half, but was down 12.7 percent.

— Irin Carmon
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