Maxim magazine, the lone survivor of Alpha Media’s laddie mag boom-and-bust (Stuff and Blender folded in 2007 and 2009, respectively), is shrinking its rate base, continuing a trend among big-circulation magazines like Playboy, Reader's Digest and Newsweek.
The magazine’s media kit lists the 2013 rate base at 2 million—a 20 percent decrease from its current rate base of 2.5 million. Maxim also is combining its December and January magazines for a total of 10 issues, down from 11 this year.
Although Maxim managed to maintain its overall circulation over the past year, a close look at the numbers shows some weak spots. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations' Fas-Fax, first-half newsstand sales plunged 20 percent versus the year-ago period and 50 percent over the past five years. Paid subscriptions also slipped, 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, there was a 57 percent increase in verified subscriptions—those free-distribution copies often found in places like barber shops—adding up to nearly 8 percent of Maxim’s total circ for the first half of the year. While the bump in verified circ managed to balance newsstand and paid subscription losses, it didn’t contribute to Maxim’s bottom line.
Maxim’s advertising was similarly weak in the first half of 2012. Ad pages dropped 20 percent from 239 between January and June 2011 to 191 in the same period of 2012.
This isn’t the first sign of trouble Maxim has faced in the past year. Last March, just two months after Alpha Media brought in Jack Kliger as executive chairman, Maxim laid off six staffers, mostly from the editorial side.