As it soon became clear, More was just a parking spot for Ms. Brodey while she rode out a three-month noncompete contract clause being enforced by American Media, where she had been the No. 2 editor at Shape. At Fitness, she succeeds Emily Listfield, who was ousted in February.
Opportunity in a tight category
Despite a health-and-fitness category already bursting with competition, Ms. Brodey said Fitness has plenty of opportunities. "Fitness and wellness are top-of-mind," Ms. Brodey said. "They're a billion-dollar interest. There's room for everybody. There's more of us; we're all holding our own."
That said, Ms. Brodey noted that one of her immediate goals is to make sure Fitness magazine stands out. "Creating a point of difference is always something a new editor wants to do," she said. "Fitness has a great formula going and it's a matter of tweaking it to make it hit home."
Fitness was one of the titles Meredith acquired from Gruner & Jahr Publishing USA, and Ms. Brodey's hire is seen as part of a major push to revamp the magazine to deliver a healthier bottom line. As its new editor, Ms. Brodey is also expected to pursue the Meredith directive for all of its big consumer titles to play as liquid brands across different media platforms.
Back to basics
But focusing on basics may have to come first. During the first half of the year, Fitness sold just 375 ad pages, down 11.8% from the first half of 2005, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. And though it guarantees average paid circulation of 1.5 million, Fitness missed that mark by a slim margin during the second half of last year after five of six issues fell short, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.