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Now closure threat as celeb mag 'no longer sustainable' amid sales and ad revenue 'drop-off'

Now magazine

Celebrity magazine Now looks set to close in print as publisher TI Media says steady circulation decline and a “drop-off” in advertising revenue mean the weekly title is “simply no longer sustainable”.

Staff are being consulted on the plans, which include maintaining the brand’s celebrity news website celebsnow.co.uk, Press Gazette understands.

The final issue of the magazine will go on sale on 2 April if TI Media pushes ahead with closure. The company would not comment on how many jobs would be lost as a result.

It told Press Gazette that editorial staff work across multiple TI Media brands and that the company would “seek to find alternative roles at TI Media for those affected” where possible.

TI Media said it had an average number of 549 editorial staff working across its titles in its company accounts to the year ended 31 December 2017.

Lifestyle and women’s weeklies managing director Angie O’Farrell said: “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.

“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.”

O’Farrell said TI Media wanted to “focus on the remaining titles in our life and style portfolio” with the proposed closure of Now.

The company said any “viable options” arising from the consultation would be considered, but that no other options were currently being consulted on.

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, according to ABC figures.

The title’s circulation fell by 43 per cent year-on-year in the second half of 2018.

TI Media was formed when Time Inc UK was bought by private equity firm Epiris in March last year.

In a statement on the closure, Fiona Swarbrick, NUJ national organiser for magazines, books, PR and communications, said: “It’s very disappointing that TI Media is continuing its policy of cutting or closing magazines with the attendant job losses.

“This latest development must be a blow to staff there. NUJ members on the magazine should get in touch so we can seek to ensure they are supported in the coming days and weeks.”

TI Media publishes several entertainment and lifestyle titles, including NME, Marie Claire UK and Country Life.

The latest TI Media Ltd accounts showed the publisher than at a £15.7m loss to the year ending 31 December 2017.

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