Alpha Media Group took the ax to its portfolio again, announcing today that it would shut down Blender magazine with its April issue.
The move ends one-time hopes for a dramatically bigger music title; since buying the magazine in June 2007, Alpha poached Joe Levy from rival Rolling Stone to edit the magazine and made plans to pump up its rate base to 1 million from 800,000.
But then came the ad recession, another blow to a title already hobbled by neglect under its prior owner and the negative perception facing music magazines. Ad pages fell a staggering 57 percent in ad pages to 69 through its April issue, per the Mediaweek Monitor . Issues have been so thin that the magazine switched to being stapled from perfect-bound starting with the February issue.
Along with the closure, Glenn Rosenbloom, who had been sharing power with Stephen Duggan as co-CEO, leaves the company. Levy was named editor of sibling pub Maxim, replacing Jim Kaminsky, who also leaves the company. Ben Madden, who was recently named group publisher of both magazines, is staying on as publisher of Maxim.
The folding of Blender leaves private equity-backed Alpha with just one of the three titles that formed the company with the purchase of Dennis Publishing’s U.S. men’s magazines for roughly $240 million. Alpha folded the third title, Stuff, a Maxim spinoff with a focus on shopping and gadgets, shortly after the sale.
Maxim, the once-hot men’s lifestyle book that at one point epitomized the laddie mag craze, has been similarly challenged on the ad front, with pages down 36.7 percent to 41 this year through April. Alpha also said it would integrate the editorial staffs of Maxim and Maxim.com , following a trend among magazines to blend their print and online operations.