That's right -- just a few hours after Conde Nast Publications put a fork in Jane, Bauer raised the bar by calling off plans for Cocktail Weekly, a lifestyle and celebrity book that had been scheduled to appear on newsstands Sept. 21.
"Bauer Publishing today announced that it has canceled the launch of Cocktail Weekly," the company said in a terse statement. "Today's announcement reflects the uncertain conditions in the single-copy marketplace."
Newsstand sales have indeed spent most of the last 10 years on an all-but-inexorable slide, of course, but nothing about that situation has changed since Bauer gave Cocktail the green light last winter. Bauer had planned to sell Cocktail exclusively on newsstands, in fact, partly because it has had such success using that model with In Touch Weekly and Life & Style Weekly.
The company had also hoped that Cocktail's frequency would attract young women more than the leisurely monthly schedule maintained by established women's titles. "This is the first generation of readers who grew up with the internet, so they are used to getting timely information," President-CEO Hubert Boehle told Advertising Age last January. "That's why Cocktail is a weekly."
When Alexandra Heatly, a former director for national advertising at Hearst Magazines' House Beautiful, was named Cocktail's publisher last March, the single-copy market didn't look like a problem. "It's the newsstand proposition," she said then. "I have a favorite magazine and it's a monthly. This is something that's going to have beauty, fashion, relationship info, but it's going to be every week."
So it's unclear precisely why Bauer soured on Cocktail. Magazine distributors, who dislike the thin margins they get from selling In Touch and Life & Style for just $1.99, may have balked at adding Cocktail, even though it was slated to retail for $2.49.
Or maybe the recent ends met by teen girl and young women's titles such as Teen People, Elle Girl and Jane -- as well as the demise of all kinds of magazines from Premiere to Budget Living to Child -- suggested ever more forcefully that maybe this isn't the best environment for magazine launches.