With times still tough for magazines and the travel category in general, Newsweek is considering unloading Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine, AdAge reports, citing unidentified sources. The magazine may either be sold whole or Newsweek may accept the taking of partial equity stakes in the travel book, which it bought about 10 years ago. AdAge’s piece follows an item in New York mag this week, which reported rumors that the magazine may be shut down. Reps for Budget Travel have denied any plans to shutter the mag or layoff its staff, telling NY mag that everything is “business as usual” and that the mag is preparing its “February issue and beyond.” The magazine’s reps didn’t address AdAge’s questions about a sale, except to confirm that rumors of Budget Travels’ demise are false.
Given the spate of magazine shutdowns this year, it’s not surprising that such rumors are spreading. Newsweek, which is a unit of the along with its Washington Post Co. (NYSE: WPO) sibling, Slate, has done some paring this past week, as the company finds itself in the middle of a challenging Q4.
In the past two weeks, in separate attempts to rein in costs, Newsweek has laid off several staffers, while Slate has folded women’s content site DoubleX as a standalone online destination. In Q3, the Washington Post Co.’s magazine publishing revenues fell 33 percent to $40.2 million.
As for Budget Travel, recent MIN figures show that ad pages have fallen less than some of its rivals. Between January and November, Budget Travel ad pages dropped 27 percent compared to the year before, while Conde Nast Traveler plunged 43 percent during the same period. American Express’ Travel & Leisure, meanwhile, experienced a 24 percent drop in ad pages for the first 11 months of 2009.