Vibe to Cut Rate Base and Frequency

Facing steep circulation and ad-page declines, hip-hop monthly Vibe announced a series of cost-cutting measures, including its second rate base cut in the past year.
 
The title, owned by private equity firm Wicks Group of Companies, said it would slash its rate base to 600,000 from 800,000 as of the June/July issue. The cut is the second in a year: Vibe reduced its rate base to 800,000 from 850,000 in the second half of 2008.
 
Vibe also will cut its frequency to 10 issues from 12 and introduce a four-day workweek starting March 1. The title also will publish a tabloid-style title twice a year, in December and June.
 
Vibe said that cutting the rate base would eliminate profitable subs as it tries to adjust to the soft economic climate. At the same time, the title said that it would take steps to expand its presence to other platforms, adding more video, launching a mobile platform and bolstering its Web content.
 
This year through March, Vibe’s ad pages fell 41.7 percent to 107, per the Mediaweek Monitor. Circ has been hard-hit, too; total paid and verified was down 8.6 percent for the second half of 2008, blunted in part by a 280 percent increase in verified copies. In the same period, paid subs fell 19.6 percent while single-copy sales fell 10.8 percent.