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Magazines news

Avusa to discontinue SoccerLife 442, remains committed to consumer market

Avusa Magazines is closing down SoccerLife 442, the soccer lifestyle title it has been publishing for the past seven years. News of the closure comes in a memo from Avusa Magazines GM Justice Malala to staff that was leaked to Bizcommunity.com. The February 2011 issue, currently in the process of going out on newsstands across the country, will be the final one.
"After months of deliberation, Avusa Management has today taken the decision to discontinue publication of SoccerLife magazine," Malala noted in the memo yesterday, Tuesday, 18 January 2011.

"The title has been with Avusa for seven years and the decision to terminate publication was taken after much painful discussion. Although SoccerLife has faced tough times in the past the extremely tough economic conditions of the past two years proved too hard for the title to survive."

Changed frequency a year ago

The title changed frequency a year ago, moving from bi-monthly to monthly in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and while it achieved good subscription and retail sales, it failed to garner support from advertisers, Malala told Bizcommunity during a phone interview. Statistics by the ABC reveal a total paid circulation of 21 483 for the title, 9185 from subscriptions and 11 631 from single sale copies.

According to Malala, SoccerLife 442 has always struggled with attracting advertising spend but that it went particularly badly over the past two years. He attributes it in part to the title's positioning (soccer meets lifestyle), the recession and that many advertisers spent their budgets in the run-up to the world cup, with little left after the event. Malala says post-world cup support collapsed completely, forcing the decision to close the title.

Malala says most staff members will not be affected as they work on multiple titles across the magazine division, and that he foresees staffers moved internally, not only within magazines but also to other Avusa business units. At a maximum, he doesn't expect more than three job losses, if any do occur. Consultation with those affected is currently underway.

New titles will be launched

Malala insists Avusa Magazines remain committed to the consumer trade and that new titles will be launched in the year ahead. The group recently sold Longevity to Gisele Wertheim Aymes. Other consumer trade titles still in the stable include Avocado, Elle, Elle Decoration, SA Home Owner and Stuff.

Malala did say the group would, however, continuously review its strategy of trading in niche consumer title categories.
    
 

About Herman Manson: @marklives

The inaugural Vodacom Social Media Journalist of the Year in 2011, Herman Manson (@marklives) is a business journalist and media commentator who edits industry news site www.marklives.com. His writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines locally and abroad, including Bizcommunity.com. He also co-founded Brand magazine.
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