June Issue Will Be Magazine's Last

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Hachette Filipacchi Media US today shut down its trailing travel title Travel Holiday. The upcoming June issue will be its last.

Staffers were informed of the news during a meeting this morning with Hachette CEO Jack Kliger. The move affects 24 staffers. Two years ago, Travel Holiday celebrated its centennial.

Travel advertising slump
A company spokeswoman said the title was especially dependent on endemic advertising, which has been hard-hit, owing to travel concerns preceding the war in Iraq and the ongoing economic slump.

The past few weeks have been tumultuous

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ones for the magazine industry. In early April Hearst Magazines shuttered its decorating title Victoria. Late last week Time Inc.'s Time4Media unit shuttered the skater-lifestyle magazine Stance. Those moves were preceded by independent men's magazine Gear officially going on hiatus with an eye toward relaunching later this year, and financial title Worth cutting its frequency and halving its staff while it searched for additional sources of cash.

Don Logan, who as chairman of AOL Time Warner's Media & Communications Group oversees Time Inc., the nation's largest magazine company, in a conference call this morning said "something of a slowdown" in magazine advertising may lie ahead as war jitters and economic woes continue. A continued slowdown would seem certain to further winnow down the ranks of titles on the newsstand.

Distant third place
Hachette bought Travel Holiday from Reader's Digest Association in March 1996 for about $10 million, said an executive familiar with the matter. An executive familiar with the situation said that at the time, Hachette's then-CEO, David Pecker, had designs on building out a travel group at the company. But neither he nor his successor, Mr. Kliger, did. Travel Holiday remained a trailing title behind the two category heavyweights, American Express Publishing Corp.'s Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Publications' Conde Nast Traveler.

The title was frequently mentioned on informal lists of magazines likely to be shuttered, although Hachette executives privately contended that the magazine served a purpose within Hachette's global portfolio by generating (as well as publishing) content for similar titles in other countries.

While Travel Holiday's ad pages rose 53% to 242.8 through March. But for all of 2002, its 874.8 ad pages severely trailed those of Traveler, at 1,371.0, and Travel & Leisure, at 1,508.7. Its circulation for the last half of 2002 was down 1% to 652,677.

Travel Holiday's shutdown comes as Hachette, long considered the front-runner in the ongoing bidding for Primedia's Seventeen, now looks to be behind Hearst as that title's top suitor, said executives familiar with the matter. A Hearst spokesman declined to comment.

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