‘Maxim’ to Absorb ‘Stuff’

NEW YORK The future owners of Dennis Publishing’s men’s titles plan to fold Stuff as a standalone magazine in the fall and make it a section in flagship Maxim, sources told Mediaweek. The move is effective with the November/December issue of Maxim.

There’s no word on the fate of Stuff’s staffers. John Lumpkin, publisher of Stuff, said a change in Stuff’s publishing schedule is news to him. “There’s been no discussion of suspending publication,” he said.

The news hardly comes as a shock; it was widely expected Stuff would take a different form after it was sold, along with Dennis Publishing’s other U.S. men’s titles, to private equity firm Quadrangle Group, in a $240-plus million deal. Alpha Media Group, the new name for Dennis Publishing’s men’s titles, is expected to close on the deal as early as next week.

Dennis launched Stuff as a smaller-circ, shopping-focused title to block Emap’s FHM from gaining ground on Maxim by offering advertisers a lower-cost alternative to Maxim. But Stuff has teetered between the red and black, and FHM folded late last year, leading some to question Stuff‘s reason for being.

This year through August, Stuff‘s ad pages declined 3.4 percent to 392, per the Mediaweek Monitor. Total paid and verified circ, meanwhile, declined 4.8 percent to 1.2 million in the second half of 2006, with single-copy sales plummeting 34.9 percent, per the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Alpha Media Group, meanwhile, is expected to pour resources into Maxim and its other magazine, music monthly Blender.