Memo Pad: Changes At The Top... News International To Close Magazines Division...

Traditional media companies are in existential crisis, as Wednesday's high-level executive changes at Hearst Corp. proved.

Kliger's tenure was marked by magazine closures (George, Ellegirl, For Me, Premiere, Shock), of which some were considered inevitable and others controversial. In the case of Ellegirl and Premiere, the company touted transitions to online-only properties, though their online afterlives tended to be bare bones. And, while Hachette's fashion flagship, Elle, has been posting good numbers and gaining more attention, its high-profile partnership with "Project Runway" is likely to end, the company's shelter and automotive groups are particularly vulnerable to the current economic downturn and the company is still finding its way digitally, as seen in recent layoffs and executive changes. "I think he saw this coming for a while, although the timing probably caught him off guard. He was likely forced to go along with it, to ensure anything he would receive financially," speculated one insider.

The selection of Lemarchand as Kliger's replacement rather than an American may indicate that the company is taking an even more active role in the U.S. division, its second-largest revenue contributor.

— Irin Carmon and Amy Wicks

News International, Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper business, is set to close its consumer magazine division, called News Magazines, a spokeswoman in the U.K. said Wednesday.

"We can confirm that we will disengage from the magazine business," she said. "It will allow us to focus on our core business as the U.K.'s largest national news publisher."

On Tuesday, London trade magazine Media Week reported that News Magazines had made a loss of 9.7 million pounds, or $18.9 million, in the year to June 2007, but the spokeswoman declined to confirm that figure.

The division published three magazines — the real-life magazine Love It, the Sunday Times Travel and Skymag, a magazine for Sky Television's customers. The spokeswoman said the company planned to sell Love It, while the Sunday Times Travel will be published from News International's newspaper headquarters. The spokeswoman said it was a possibility that Sky Magazine could be published in-house by the television channel, but that had not been confirmed.

— Nina Jones
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