Celebrity magazine Now has published its final print issue, offering thanks to its readers for “all your support over the years” as X Factor judge Louis Walsh used the back page to urge people to “keep buying magazines”.
Publisher TI Media (formerly Time Inc UK) said last month it planned to close the weekly title following steady circulation decline and a “drop-off” in advertising revenue that meant it was “simply no longer sustainable”.
The brand’s celebrity news website, celebsnow.co.uk, will remain live.
Press Gazette understands a consultation period for staff affected by the closure remains ongoing.
The final issue of Now, which hit newsstands today, bids farewell to readers on its second page amid a collage of its front covers from over the years.
It says: “Sadly, this is our final print issue. Thanks for all your support over the years, it’s been a blast. Still in need of a celeb fix? Head over to celebsnow.co.uk. For now, it’s time to say goodbye.”
The magazine has a cover feature calling on Katie Price to retire her alter ego Jordan, after she made her page three debut in 1996, the same year Now launched.
The front headline says: “After 23 years, it’s time to say goodbye… it’s all over.”
Inside it reads: “Twenty-three years and a lot of headlines later, it’s sadly time for us to say goodbye – just like Katie knows she should be doing to her life in the limelight.”
The magazine also features a double-page spread of its “best bits” while the back page boasts quotes from celebrities saying goodbye.
Louis Walsh said: “The original celeb mag has gone. Thanks for the good times, Now mag. People, keep buying magazines – they’re a platform for all new talent.”
Peter Andre added: “Sad that Now magazine is no longer with us. We’ve had a great relationship over the years and you will never be forgotten. All my love Now and forever.”
Now magazine peaked at a circulation of more than 630,000 in late 2002, falling to a circulation of 44,700 in the second half of last year (a 43 per cent fall on the year before), according to ABC figures.
Angie O’Farrell, group managing director of lifestyle and women’s weeklies at TI Media, said last month: “The changing dynamics of the celebrity market – with consumers increasingly getting their fix of celeb news and gossip from other sources that can break stories immediately – means this audience is buying fewer and fewer magazines.
“As recent closures highlight, this is putting the celebrity market under relentless pressure.”
Rival publisher Hearst closed celebrity magazine Reveal in September after its circulation halved in four years.
O’Farrell went on: “Now’s circulation has been falling steadily over the past five years and with that decline forecast to continue, alongside a drop-off in advertising revenue, the magazine is simply no longer sustainable.”
Now magazine was forced to apologise to TV presenter Stacey Solomon last year over a cover story that labelled her “boring, desperate and cheap”.
Solomon said the cover story had been the “meanest thing I’ve ever seen”.