Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) is closing the historic Far Eastern Economic Review in December, already a shell of itself, saying the “continued losses in advertising revenue and readers are now unsustainable.” The company introduced the news with the statement starting this fall, it “will focus on its core publications to better serve readers and advertisers in key markets both in print and online, to catapult the company’s growth in the burgeoning Asian marketplace.” Killing off FEER, founded in 1946, will allow “opinion and commentary resources from Asia” to expand across all DJ properties, or so the reasoning goes. Subscribers will be offered one-year subscriptions to asia.wsj.com. In a statement, Todd Larsen, COO at Dow Jones Consumer Media Group, explained: “The decision to cease publication of the REVIEW is a difficult one made after a careful study of the magazine’s prospects in a challenging business climate.”
Hugo Restall, the editor since late 2004, will keep his job on the WSJ Editorial Board; his small staff of six is being offered jobs elsewhere in the company, according to spokesman Robert Christie. The website will be shut down with its archives available through asia.wsj.com. As for the brand, says Christie, “It all comes to an end. It goes on long-term hiatus. We may at some point revisit it, but not likely any point in the near future.” He couldn’t provide a dollar amount for the losses but said it was losing too much money for its circulation of about 20,000.
The move comes five years after a complete overhaul gutted the China-based magazine, turning it into a monthly rather than a staff-written weekly, well before DJ was acquired by News Corp. and Peter Kann was still chairman and CEO. For some, the magazine effectively died then. The Pacific Media Watch called it “death-by-corporate-downsizing” Murdoch’s interests in expanding in Asia and in coverage of Asia may have helped it survive until now.