Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meredith shutters ReadyMade, the DIY magazine for 20-somethings

How often have we seen a feisty, energetic independent magazine swallowed by a major publishing group, only to later be closed? Too often, I'd say, and the latest example is the closure of DIY darling ReadyMade. Meredith Corporation is closing the magazine, eliminating 75 jobs and writing down $10 million, according to an article in Ad Age
The bimonthly was founded in Berkeley, California as a quarterly in 2001 and increased frequency to 6 times a year in 2004, with the aim of serving younger, 20- and 30-something readers than would traditionally look at the likes of Meredith's gargantuan Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies Home Journal and it was acquired by Meredith in 2006.
The magazine described itself as being 
"for people who like to make stuff, who see the flicker of invention in everyday objects -- the perfectly round yolk in the mundane egg." 
Co-founders Grace Hawthorne, the publisher and chief editor Shoshanna Berger stayed with the magazine, based on the promise of keeping operations in the San Francisco Bay area. They later bailed when in 2009 Meredith consolidated the operation with other magazines in Des Moines, Iowa. None of the editorial staff chose to relocate.
While ReadyMade's circulation grew to more than 335,000 on Meredith's watch, it still wasn't making money. The publisher, Jeff Wellington, left in late February and was not replaced (a good indicator of being on the slippery slope). 
The magazine, which was beloved of its audience, continued to be so under Meredith. But the fit was apparently not as good as Meredith had thought and it was struggling with much bigger problems with its National Media Group, which saw Q1 ad revenue fall 11% and circ rev decline by 9%.
"Positioning Meredith for continued growth requires periodic realignment of resources, including how we deploy our workforce," Meredith Chairman-CEO Steve Lacy said in a  bloodless statement confirming the closure. "These actions will enable us to devote additional resources to key strategic growth initiatives, including digital platform expansion."



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