Thursday, April 24, 2014

Venerable Ladies' Home Journal ceasing
monthly publication

The July issue of Ladies' Home Journal will be its last as a periodical. Meredith Corporation has announced that, after 131 years, this cornerstone of women's interest publishing will only be available as an occasional newsstand special interest publication. According to a story in Ad Age, subscribers will be offered one of the other Meredith publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, More or Every Day with Rachael Ray.

LHJ has a circulation of 3.2 million, down from its peak in 1968 of 6.8 million. Meredith bought the magazine and Health magazine from Family Media in 1986 for about $96 million. Ad sales fell 17% in 2013 and so far this year have declined 23%.

The change means that the entire editorial staff will be laid off. Some business side shifts may be made within Meredith, which is moving production of special interest publications from New York to its Des Moines, Iowa headquarters. 
Ladies' Home Journal is one of the original group of women's service magazines called the Seven Sisters, along with fellow Meredith titles Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle as well as Hearst-owned Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Woman's Day. (The seventh sister, McCall's, closed in 2002.) They share similar challenges of graying audiences and declining ad pages. 
[Spkesman Art] Slusark said that transitioning Ladies' Home Journal to a special interest publication will "improve the profitability of Meredith's National Media Group, which oversees its magazines. 
Meredith posted a 37% decline in profits during its most recent quarter. Ad revenues across its national magazines fell to $112 million from $129 million the prior year.

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