Vibe Kills Its Magazine (Again)
The latest chapter in a shaky saga.
Today, Capital New York reported that Spin Media–to almost nobody’s surprise–ceased the print production of Vibe.
The company acquired the suffering brand from Yucaipa Companies in April 2013 through an equity exchange with no cash on the table. At the time of the acquisition, many expected Vibe‘s print future to have the same fate as Spin, which shut down its print operation shortly after it was bought by BuzzMedia (later rebranded as Spin Media).
In addition to the killing the print magazine, CEO Stephen Blackwell confirmed that the company also reduced its workforce by 14 percent, laying off 19 staffers who were mostly tied to Vibe. According to Capital New York, the video, photo and sales departments suffered most of the attrition.
The magazine’s circulation was much smaller than its digital audience. At one time the magazine reached around a million readers but, as of late, that number has been reduced by about three-quarters. Online, however, Vibe still has a strong presence. Blackwell claims that the site attracts around six or seven million UVs every month, and its following on Facebook alone is north of one million.
Vibe has had a tumultuous past. Quincy Jones launched the magazine in 1993 in a partnership with Time Inc. A few years later it was sold to Miller Publishing, then sold again in 2006 to The Wicks Group. In 2009 it shut down for a brief period until InterMedia Partners made and investment to resurrect the magazine, along with Magic Johnson and, eventually, Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies pitching in.
A source who used to work for the magazine tells FOLIO:, "They should have never brought it back [from its 2009 hiatus]. To me, it’s like Weekend at Bernie’s, watching someone carry around a cadaver and pretending it’s alive."