Rodale to Shutter Best Life

The ad downturn has been particularly harsh on newer, less profitable magazines. Fresh evidence of this comes from Rodale, which said it would fold Best Life, a men’s lifestyle title that sought an audience among affluent, 40-plus men with well-rounded interests.
The May issue will be the last. The Web site also will be shut down.
A Rodale rep said it hoped to place 10 to 15 of the 40 people on staff, including editor Stephen Perrine and vp, publisher Michael Wolfe, in other positions in the company.
“Despite the great work of the sales team and the talent of the editorial staff, given the challenges of the advertising market and general conditions, Best Life could not meet our internal benchmarks, and we have made the decision to focus our resources on our core brands,” Steve Murphy, president and CEO of Rodale Inc., said in a statement.
Best Life, which covered parenting in addition to standard men’s lifestyle fare and published high-profile writers like David Mamet and Jay McInerney, was well-received by readers and advertisers since launching in 2004. It was one of the few magazines that grew in 2008, increasing pages by 6.6 percent to 623 and bringing in more than 88 new advertisers, including Dolce & Gabbana, HP and BMW.
Circulation rose 6.1 percent to 526,276 in the second half of 2008 on an 8.7 percent rise in subscriptions, despite a relatively high average sub price of $18.30 for 10 issues, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
But the title was challenged by its newness and reliance on luxury advertising. This year through April, ad pages sank 38.5 percent to 97. The men’s lifestyle/fitness/outdoor category declined 16.5 percent in the same period.
Other upstarts that have folded in the past few months include Hallmark Cards’ Hallmark, Condé Nast’s Domino and Disney Publishing’s Wondertime.
Rodale, which also publishes Prevention, Men’s Health and Women’s Health, last month let go 20 sales-side employees following a 111-person staff reduction last fall, citing the economic downturn.