Wenner Media Rejoins MPA After Two Decades Out of Group

Rolling Stone Publisher Had Quit in 1990, Calling for Industry Association to 'Reinvigorate' Itself

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In an about-face that will attract notice across the magazine industry, Wenner Media is rejoining the Magazine Publishers of America after staying away for two decades.

Jann Wenner
Jann Wenner Credit: AP
Wenner -- which publishes Rolling Stone, Men's Journal and Us Weekly -- hasn't been a member of the industry association since it quit in 1990 over a variety of issues. Wenner said in those days that it might rejoin if the association, among other things, "reinvigorated" itself.

A Wenner spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the company is rejoining the association. "We think it's important for the industry to join together to support magazines," he said, declining to elaborate.

Wenner's return to the fold is good news for the magazine association, which has endured a few defections amid the recession and various challenges to the industry.

Hachette Filipacchi shocked the industry last year by quitting the association despite strong ties to it. Jack Kliger, Hachette's president-CEO from 1999 through 2008, served prominently as chairman of the association from 2005 through 2007. In his last speech as MPA chairman, he even took a swipe at publishers that don't pay MPA dues for getting a "free ride." He was talking at least in part about Wenner.

Hachette's exit was followed by departures from American Media, the publisher of titles including Star and Shape, and New York magazine, an industry darling that's one of the top 50 magazines by revenue. Hachette and American Media said this week that they still have no intention of returning, but New York magazine has already rejoined the fold.

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