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Meredith Closes Doors on Child

And That Makes Three Gone (Premiere, Life) in '07

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Adding to the carnage of early 2007 that has already shut down print editions of Premiere and Life magazines, Meredith Corp. has decided to close Child magazine.
Child will become part of a parenthood portal, which will launch in July, and include Parents, American Baby and Family Circle content.
Child will become part of a parenthood portal, which will launch in July, and include Parents, American Baby and Family Circle content.

Meredith also plans to eliminate 60 employees today, only about half of which were employed by Child. A spokesman said the other positions are from "across the company."

'Hard look'
The magazine business has been brutal lately, especially as new media and changing consumer habits force traditional publishers to take what they invariably call a "hard look" at costs, profits, revenue growth projections and their readiness for the digital age.

Child will become part of a parenthood portal, which will launch in July, and include Parents, American Baby and Family Circle content. The last print edition of Child will be the June/July issue.

Newsstand retreat
By several metrics, things were looking grim at Child. Ad pages fell 15.2% last year, to 914.5, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. And its average paid and verified circulation over the second half of last year was 740,534, down 18.5% from the equivalent period a year earlier, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Part of that was due to a retreat from most newsstand sales, but subscriptions tanked 17.9% too.

Child also suffered the recent arrival of Conde Nast Publications' Cookie magazine, which has performed well since its introduction in November 2005. Cookie is increasing its rate base to 400,000 with this summer's July/August issue and, next year, plans to increase its frequency to 10 issues a year from six.

That's where media blog Gawker put the blame in a "we hear" post before a Meredith executive confirmed the news: "Damn you, Cookie, you won't be happy until you have the entire market to yourself, will you? Learn to share!"

Meredith bought Child, Parents, Fitness and Family Circle magazines from Gruner & Jahr USA for $350 million in June 2005. Meredith announced today it would write off the assets of Child, totaling about $7 million, in order to transition the brand from print to online. Most of that charge is related to deferring subscription-acquisition costs.
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