Magazine closures: 'No-one could have anticipated the pandemic'

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 22 July 2020

The advertising market didn't bounce back in time to save a group of eight magazines at Bauer Media.

The publisher, which was recently acquired by Mercury Capital, is shutting Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, InStyle, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Good Health, NW and OK! after temporarily pausing them in May during lockdowns.

"No-one could have anticipated the swift, widespread and ongoing impact of the pandemic on our business and industry," says Brendon Hill, Bauer Media ANZ CEO.

“We, like many other media companies, have deeply felt the impact of COVID-19.

"The reinstatement of these titles and teams was always dependent on the advertising market bouncing back and the return of domestic and international travel.

"Despite promising signs from advertisers in recent weeks, this has not outweighed the medium-term outlook for these titles."

Hill also cited the second lockdown in Victoria and minimal travel.

"It is not feasible to sufficiently distribute NW and OK! without transit channels," he says.

"The financial impact of these factors and the ongoing economic uncertainty makes the return and sustainability of these titles no longer viable. We have been forced to reset and future-proof the business like all of the media industry has.”

Hill says the significant loss is that of talented and loyal colleagues.

"We have been optimistic about bringing our team back, however, the market has only seen further decline since stand-downs were implemented in May," he says.

"We wanted to give direction and clarity to our staff as early as possible, rather than create further uncertainty with irregular publishing schedules.

"This is a devastating blow to those who are directly affected, the entire Bauer team and the industry as a whole.

"I would like to acknowledge and thank the hard-working staff across these titles for their commitment and significant contribution to these brands.”

Former Harper’s Bazaar editor Kellie Hush said: "We have lost a piece of Australian lifestyle and culture."

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