The Australian Womens’ Weekly, Womens’ Day and the younger womens magazines of Cleo and Cosmo used to be national institutions. But the last two weeks have brought their demise into the limelight. Are you sad to see these magazines and titles that were such a part of our youth falling apart? What magazines do you still buy?
The first The Australian Women’s Weekly was published in 1933, in the worst years of depression according to the Financial Review. It sold out before lunch. Eighty-three years later stories of the magazine’s poor management, struggling operations and failure to adapt in a rapidly changing world abound.
Most of us have watched on from the sidelines in awe of the stories told about the “paper giants”, seeing the glamour, the industry and the icons as untouchable and revelling in the power of the brands. But it seems these players in the magazine industry in reality are crying poor and facing a morph or die challenge they didn’t see coming but consumers and James Packer did.
Cleo magazine was mothballed this week and as a former newsagent’s daughter I am saddened to hear that it was in the most recent audited figures only attracting about 42,000 sales over a 6 month period. I remember as a teenager poring over the pages looking for innuendo and advice in every line. For many here, years or even decades of Australian Womens’ Weekly’s still sit under the coffee tables or in boxes in the back room and the memories of the iconic role magazines played are fresh.
But the rumours abound. Media industry publications are saying that the Womens’ Weekly and Womens’ Day editorial teams might be combined for efficiency in coming weeks, showing the tough times that have befallen both magazines and perhaps magazines in general. Another of their stable Dolly, in the youth market is being heavily modified to chase digital markets and silence is being heard in the halls as staff are continually laid off.
James Packer famously sold his holding in the magazines division, ACP, to German magazine giant Bauer in 2007. He saw the change was coming quite clearly. So did consumers who have certainly slowed their buying of the magazines.
Are you sad to see these old titles slide into history rather than morph into the future? Which ones did you or do you buy and read?