If you look forward to trying the workouts in Fitness magazine every month, you may want to hang on to the last few issues on your coffee table.
Yesterday, Meredith, the company that publishes the magazine, announced it was acquiring Shape magazine (reportedly for $60 million!), and in the process, discontinuing Fitness’ print publication and absorbing its readers into Shape’s circulation. Current Shape and Fitness magazine subscribers will be introduced to the “new Shape” with the May 2015 issue. Online, the Shape and Fitness websites will continue to operate as two separate publications.
In a press release, National Media Group President Tom Harty said the acquisition was about dominance in the lifestyle category via reader numbers. “It increases our reach among millennial women to over 23 million.”
And young ones are what Meredith’s after, it seems. The release noted that, in the women’s healthy, active lifestyle publication category, Shape has the youngest readers (median age 39), who make good money (median household of $87,000). In other words…if you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em?
So far there seems to be an emphasis on moving the original Shape crew over to Meredith. A Meredith PR spokesperson tells us they’re “still merging the editorial teams.” We’ve already heard of at least two confirmed layoffs at Fitness (and rumblings of many more) and a source at Shape told us most of the staff at Shape is staying, but that they had heard a lot of print Fitness staffers were laid off.
Shape acting editorial director David Zinczenko will “continue to oversee the editorial and brand vision,” and Shape editor-in-chief Elizabeth Goodman Artis will continue in that role.
It’s unclear how the changes will resonate with loyal readers of either magazine, since they’ll likely continue to get their fill of flat-belly-workout and best-diet-ever advice each month. —Lisa Elaine Held
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