Updated: Hallmark Magazine Folds

Another magazine has fallen victim to the punishing ad climate. Hallmark Cards is folding its eponymous magazine with the February/March issue, now on newsstands. The companion Web site also will shut down.  

“Despite favorable consumer acceptance of the publication, we can not justify continued investment in the magazine at a time when we must focus our efforts and resources only on those projects that will lead to long-term profitable revenue growth for the company,” Donald Hall Jr., Hallmark president and CEO, said in a statement.

The bimonthly magazine has charted a rapid growth course since launching in 2006, doubling its rate base to 800,000 from 400,000. Ad pages rose 11 percent to 354 in 2008, according to Publishers Information Bureau, as the title attracted advertisers like Heinz and Merck.

But buyers said that while the magazine showed promise as a lifestyle title that traded on Hallmark Cards’ famous wholesomeness, it never fully capitalized on its goal of leveraging the parent company’s other assets, like its retail stores, e-cards and flowers businesses with advertisers. The magazine also faced an upward battle in rivaling established lifestyle powerhouses like Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living.

Hallmark employed 28 people, including publisher Carol Campbell Boggs and editor Lisa Benenson. Another 10 who worked in the company’s creative division, also will be impacted.

Hallmark had been looking for a publishing partner for the past couple of months, Benenson said.

“I think they believed in the magazine, but like any company, they need to look carefully at where they’re spending their dollars. It’s always heartbreaking. The magazine was really well received. We doubled our rate base, and we’re up year over year in advertising, but I think it’s a really daunting economy for anyone.”