Magazine publishing giant Bauer Media is reportedly set to increase its investment into young women’s titles following the closure of women’s magazine Cleo last week.
According to The Australian this morning Cleo had been operating at a loss for a while.
“Cleo was loss making for a long period of time; several years,” Andreas Schoo, interim CEO at Bauer Media told The Australian.
“We tried to find a way out of this and it wasn’t possible. In the end, no company in the world can afford that for several years and therefore we made the decision to stop right now.”
Indeed the most recent circulation figures from the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA) were not a pretty picture for Cleo.
The women’s mag dropped 20.7 per cent since the previous audit, from 53,221 to 42,212 print copies, according to the November audit numbers.
In comparison, Cleo’s competitor Cosmopolitan – which is also owned by Bauer Media – fell 14.7 per cent, from 90,520 to 77,181 print copies.
“Circulation wasn’t high enough and on the other hand advertising revenues weren’t high enough,” Schoo told The Australian, as young women turned to more digital media.
“For us, it was not affordable for a long time. As you know media behaviour and consumption is changing rapidly especially among young people.”
Media speculation of Cleo’s future began two weeks ago, and while Bauer denied the projections, saying there wasn’t any truth in it, within a week the official announcement came through.
Cleo staffers had also reportedly been told to reapply for jobs at teen magazine Dolly – of which the editor Lucy Cousins was also the editor for Cleo.
In keeping with the changing landscape, during the official Cleo closure announcement, Schoo also said they were moving Dolly to a bi-monthly frequency as well as a digital first approach which will be supported by print and digital editorial teams.
And while the teen mag also dropped in the circulation figures (19.1 per cent) to 40,546 copies sold – compared to the 50,125 it sold last audit – Schoo told The Australian there were no plans to give the title the boot.
Bauer Media declined to comment further.
The closure of Cleo had a number of industry heavy hitters expressing their sadness and fondness for the mag, many former editors of the publication.
Ita Butttrose, the woman behind the mag’s launch, told The Australian it was like having a death in the family.
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) January 20, 2016
On this sad day as #CLEO magazine closes, sweet memories of a different time. This was my first-ever Editor’s Letter pic I posed for back in 1985. So sad that what was once a fertile breeding ground for sassy young female journalists – think @miafreedman @deborahthomas10 @paulajoye #wendysquires @nbonython & brilliant photographers like @carlottamoye – is no more. For my letter of fond farewell to CLEO after spending ten years in the Editor’s chair, go to @huffpostau website or my Twitter feed. Thoughts, most importantly, are with all those who lost their jobs today. Vale.
A photo posted by Lisa Wilkinson (@lisa_wilkinson) on
I started my career as a fan-girl intern at @cleoaustralia in 1992. For the next 5yrs I was lucky enough to learn at the foot of Lisa Wilkinson, Deborah Thomas and Wendy Squires and work alongside Paula Joye and Nicole Bonython. They were the halcyon years and there was no better place to be, no better women to work with. Cleo was a force to be reckoned with. Thinking today not just of those who are there now but of all the extraordinary women who worked under the CLEO masthead over the years including of course it’s remarkable founder Ita Buttrose.
Very sad to hear about the demise of iconic Aussie magazine CLEO. I was acting editor for one hilarious year. Oh the laughs… #Cleo
— Maggie Alderson (@MaggieA) January 20, 2016
— Shaynna Blaze (@ShaynnaBlaze) January 19, 2016