At least 20 journalists’ posts will be lost and dozens of freelances affected by this week’s closure of Later and Sky.
IPC spent £2.5m on the launch of Later in a bid to crack the ‘older’ men’s market. But Mike Soutar, managing director of IPC ignite, said the market had failed to materialise.
"It is logical to say that men grow out of Loaded and Maxim when they pass their 30th birthday but there is no hard evidence to suggest a new market exists," he said. "We explored every opportunity, ran innumerable business plans and left no stone unturned.
"Older men do not appear to want a mainstream title like younger men do. One school of thought says that, when men are 14 they want to be 21 and when they’re 40 they want to be 21." IPC hoped to sell more than 100,000 copies a month of Later but insiders claim sales were as low as 30,000. Later’s most recent ABC was 70,267, down 22 per cent on the previous year.
Barry McIlheney, chief executive of Emap Elan Network, said Emap had "exhausted all options" with Sky, which at one time sold around 200,000 copies. It suffered a 35 per cent drop in its latest ABC, with sales down to 65,000. Insiders said some fashion advertisers had pulled out when the magazine changed tack to compete with the boom in the men’s market.
Maxim editor Tom Loxley predicted bad news for men’s titles in the next ABCs. "Men’s magazines are so fantastically unfashionable at the moment, you just can’t buck the trend.
"Everyone is getting a bit scared. Just look at the packages on the news-stands. GQ is giving away aviator sunglasses. Sooner or later they’ll be offering a Gucci thong."
By Ruth Addicott