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Time Inc. Kills Life, Again

Brand Will Live On Online as Photo Archive

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The hits to consumer magazines keep on coming: Time Inc. has pulled the plug on its latest attempt to revive Life magazine, the once-storied photo-heavy weekly that came back as a weekly newspaper supplement in October 2004. Its issue dated April 20 will be its last.
Time Inc. blamed the failure on the host it chose for Life's new incarnation: newspapers.
Time Inc. blamed the failure on the host it chose for Life's new incarnation: newspapers.

The decision means 42 more Time Inc. employees, 17 from editorial and 25 from the publishing side, are out of work, a spokeswoman said. Bigs including Life Publisher Peter Bauer, Editor William Shapiro and Executive Editor Maggie Murphy are in talks about finding new positions within the company.

Blames newspapers
Time Inc. blamed the failure on the host it chose for Life's new incarnation: newspapers. "While consumers responded enthusiastically to Life, with the decline in the newspaper business, and the outlook for advertising growth in the newspaper supplement growth category, the response was not strong enough to warrant further investment in Life as a weekly newspaper supplement," the company said in a statement this morning.

But big magazine publishers have also been spiking titles with unusual regularity since last year, which saw shutdowns including Time Inc.'s Teen People; Elle Girl and Shock from Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.; eMap's U.S. edition of FHM; Weekend and Shop Etc. from Hearst Magazines; Celebrity Living and Shape en Espanol from American Media Inc. This year, Hachette has already killed Premiere, the 20-year-old movie title.

And Ann S. Moore, Time Inc. chairman-CEO, has pursued an extended effort to streamline the company -- the country's biggest magazine publisher -- through reorganization, downsizing and asset sales.

'Potential upside was huge'
"Growth requires taking risks and the potential upside was huge, but unfortunately the timing worked against us," Ms. Moore said the statement. "The market has moved dramatically since October 2004 and it is no longer appropriate to continue publication of Life as a newspaper supplement."

As has become the norm with print closures, the company said it remains committed to the brand even without a magazine iteration. It will keep building an online portal for Life, for example, intended to house its collection of 10 million images. The site is planned to go live later this year.

Life was first published by Time Inc. as a weekly in 1936; it closed in 1972 and reappeared as a monthly that ran from 1978 through 2000.
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