Why, if Keith Kelly is correct in his reporting that it’s losing $35 million per year, is Life magazine still around? As shareholder and bottom-line pressures mount for Time Warner’s magazine division, Anne Moore’s Time Inc., which resurrected the magazine in 2004 as a startlingly thin newspaper insert, has been slicing off huge pieces of itself for the past 9 months. With the latest announcement that 18 titles in the enthusiast group Time4 Media are up for sale, another 560 jobs will be added to the 500 that have already been cut. Yet, as Skip Zimbalist, current CEO of enthusiast publisher Active Interest Media and likely bidder on some of the Time4 titles, noted, “If you look at most of the magazines they are number one or number two in their special interest area – they’re very strong magazines in their fields.”
Life, published weekly to 12 million circ through 70 papers, is a distant fourth behind Parade, USA Weekend and New York Times Magazine. The magazine has earned $84 million in PIB revenue through August.
By contrast, Time Inc. couldn’t shut down Officepirates.com fast enough, which couldn’t have been losing anywhere near $35 million.
As Moore focuses on proven money-makers like the Golf properties and the other mass-market titles, it won’t come as much of a surprise if Life is soon put on the block or shut down, again.
Not that the magazine necessarily deserves to be shut down or sold off, but why continue to support Life as you lop off a $300 million group of market leaders?