HEARST TO CLOSE 'VICTORIA' MAGAZINE

June Issue Will Be the Last

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a move certain to inflame fears of an accelerated shakeout at the newsstand, Hearst
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Magazines today shuttered its decorating title Victoria. Its June issue, which will hit newsstands in mid-May, will be its last.

Victoria staffers, which total around 30, were informed of the news in a meeting this afternoon with Hearst Magazines President Cathleen Black.

Rough week
In the last week and a half, independent title Gear ceased publication, albeit with plans to relaunch later this year, and financial title Worth essentially halved its staff and cut its frequency from 10 times a year to eight.

Victoria, which was founded in 1987, had long been seen by company observers as the red-headed stepchild within the Hearst portfolio, with likely the lowest profile among all of Hearst's titles and a positioning that was difficult to communicate. In 2001, its publisher functions were consolidated under Jayne Jamison, the publisher of Redbook.

Ad support was 'unachievable'
The company in a statement said the title "had attracted a loyal readership" but that "strong advertising support has been unachievable." The latter point is borne out by the numbers: Last year, according to Publishes Information Bureau, Victoria's ad pages rose 5.9% -- but only to 420. For the last half of 2002, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Victoria's circulation fell 0.8% to 969,180.

The move is a double-dose of bad luck to Victoria's executive director, Jason Kontos, who was editor in chief of Hearst's Classic American Home when it was shut down in August 2001.

A Hearst spokesman said the staffers were given severance packages, and that Hearst would try to place them at other positions within the company.

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