Summary:

We asked a month ago whether the collapse of mens’ mag Arena was the first of many closures in that sector this year and that’s exactly what…

imageWe asked a month ago whether the collapse of mens’ mag Arena was the first of many closures in that sector this year and that’s exactly what it looks like: Dennis Publishing will shut the UK edition of its Maxim magazine from May and take the brand online-only after 14 years of publishing. Dennis will distribute the US edition of Maxim to uk subscribers and newsstands but the June edition (pictured) will be its last in print for the British version. Dennis doesn’t mention circulation or advertising decline in its statement but says it is “bolstering the online editorial team” in response to “consumer demand for Maxim content online”. The magazine’s 12 staff are in consultation, though there has been no mention of redundancies so far. The company also shut its Computer Buyer magazine in January and merged it with sister title Computer Shopper.

Online future: Could Dennis make a success of Maxim online? It has more of a chance than most consumer publishers, having pioneered the lad’s mag e-zine Monkey, which attracted one million unique users in September according to ABCe. The company’s founder Felix Dennis is famously bullish about the future of print, but he also expects his company to make 40 percent of its entire revenues from online this year and clearly doesn’t see online publishing as as additional nice-to-have section of the business. Dennis claims Maxim.co.uk has 500,000 unique monthly users, gets 8.2 million page impressions a month and had 260,000 subscribers to its weekly newsletter. More after the jump…

Site or online mag?: What remains to be seen is whether Maxim.co.uk will remain its current stand-alone offering of cars, girls, viral videos and so on, or whether some of the magazine’s usual painstakingly constructed magazine pages will find their way into a digital edition, using the same page-turning technology as Monkey. What is clear is that the Maxim has just lost its primary revenue source and Dennis will have to seriously step up the commercial activities or think creatively to sustain the level of staffing needed to produce a monthly mag.

Mens’ mags collapse: It’s grim out there for mens’ mags: Maxim slid 41.4 percent in H208 to a monthly average of 45,951 copies, according to ABC, a slim market share compared to rivals such as FHM with 272,545. When Maxim launched in the heady days of 1995, it was before weekly lads’ mags Zoo and Nuts, which between them sell an average of 380,000 copies a week, and free mags Shortlist and Sport which distribute 800,000 each week. So there’s only so much ad revenue and circulation headroom to go round and for Maxim it simply wasn’t enough.

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