The glossy print version of Men’s Fitness will be no more, its owner American Media Inc. said Friday, in the latest sign that men’s magazines are losing their mojo.
An AMI spokesman said the publishing giant — whose other titles include Us Weekly, Star and the National Enquirer — will continue with a digital version of Men’s Fitness, but sources said the magazine’s remaining editorial staff has been laid off.
In a cost-cutting move four months ago, many of the Men’s Fitness staff of 24 had already been combined with another AMI title, Muscle & Fitness. The number of layoffs following Friday’s move was estimated to be fewer than a dozen.
The plan will be to fold the unfilled Men’s Fitness subscriptions into Men’s Journal, which AMI acquired only in June from Wenner Media. Men’s Journal also will return to publishing 12 times a year, after getting cut back to 10 in its last year under Jann Wenner, and its circulation will be pumped up by 66 percent to 1.25 million.
The category leader remains Men’s Health, which is part of Rodale, a privately held, family-run publishing empire that is now on the block. Men’s Health has a monthly circulation of 1.8 million, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.
AMI CEO David Pecker had said earlier he would be interested in acquiring Men’s Health, but Friday’s move would seem to indicate he has instead decided to bolster his existing properties to do battle with Men’s Health.
Before the moves, Men’s Fitness had a total circulation of 716,797. Men’s Journal had a circulation of 735,674.
Pecker acquired the money-bleeding Men’s Journal from Wenner Media only a few months after he had paid $100 million to buy celebrity rag Us Weekly from Wenner.
Unlike with the Us Weekly deal, Pecker said he was keeping the entire Men’s Journal staff and planned no layoffs. But last month, Men’s Journal’s editor-in -chief, Mark Healy, was quietly let go by AMI, and Greg Emmanuel was installed as the magazine’s chief content officer.
“It’s clear, as evidenced by numerous third-party research studies, that today’s affluent men are looking for, and eager to invest in, curated experiences and adventures,” Men’s Journal chief revenue officer Jay Gallagher said. “AMI believes Men’s Journal is well-positioned to meet these consumer demands.”
The new Men’s Journal will hit the newsstands with the November issue, featuring heavier paper stock and more fitness coverage added to its adventure travel format, the company said.