Update: Stuff Publisher Out
After brief negotiations, Stuff publisher John Lumpkin is out at the newly-formed parent Alpha Media group, according to multiple reports. Rumors of Lumpkin’s demise circulated last week after the Kent Brownridge-led company announced that its $240 million acquisition of Dennis Publishing had been finalized — and that Stuff would be stuffed into Maxim.
Lumpkin had told Folio: as late as Thursday that nothing had been decided. "There continue to be ongoing discussions regarding my role at Alpha Media," said Lumpkin. "While nothing yet has been agreed upon, I hope to remain if the right opportunity presents itself."
Stuff was launched in 1998 yet, despite its pioneering owner Felix Dennis, always seemed to suffer in comparisons to Maxim, its watered-down approximation characterized by Ad Age’s Nat Ives as "Maxim Lite."
According to Alpha Media, stuffmagazine.com will not be affected.
Lumpkin says Stuff’s upcoming October issue — its last — was up 30 percent in ad pages over October 2006. But according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX figures, the magazine was hemorrhaging at the newsstand, down 33.9 percent in single copy sales. Maxim, with a circulation of 2.5 million, remained flat.
"As a standalone, [Stuff] just didn’t make a whole lot of economic sense," said one industry source with knowledge of the deal. "I’m not sure why they haven’t folded Blender. Both Stuff and Blender were unprofitable. And the music market is fragmenting. Those magazines benefit from having records promoted and the record industry in turmoil."