the demise of Entertainment Weekly

The magazine business is not what it once was. There has been a lot of consolidation in the industry and magazines have ceased publication of their print editions.

Our favorite cooking magazine for many years was Cooking Light. It was one of many magazines that Time Inc. published. Time Inc., however, wanted it to close out its business and sold all of its magazines to Meredith Corporation, known for magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal. Meredith sold off magazines like Time and Sports Illustrated that didn’t fit its lifestyle niche. Other magazines it shut down, including Cooking Light. For some reason I didn’t receive notice of the shutdown, and it was only several months later that I said to myself, “Hey, we haven’t gotten a Cooking Light for a while!” I did an online search and quickly found out why. (Meredith has since revived Cooking Light in a sort of overpriced quarterly zombie form without the extensive test kitchen and writing staff that caused them to shut it down in the first place.)

Entertaiment Weekly postcardOne of the Time Inc. publications that Meredith kept was Entertainment Weekly, a magazine that Terry and I have subscribed to for many years. However, last October Dotdash, a company controlled by media maven Barry Diller, bought Meredith and all of its magazines, creating Dotdash Meredith. In February the new company announced that Entertainment Weekly, along with Eating Well, Health, and Parents would cease print publication and exist only online. Dotdash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel said in a memo to employees, “We have said from the beginning, buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites.”

The final issue of EW was the April edition. (Oddly, Entertainment Weekly kept that name even after it went monthly.) Production was nearly complete on that issue when Vogel made the announcement, so the end of the road merited only a single obtuse mention on the back page compilation of trending topics.

Since we had a year left on our subscription, Terry and I were wondering how the fine folks at Dotdash Meredith would handle that. They kept us wondering until here in mid-April when we finally received a postcard (printed about as cheaply as it could possibly be) telling us that the balance of our subscription would arrive in the form of People magazine. People. Gee, thanks, guys. The card did say that we could request a refund instead, but as I had renewed a couple of times at a highly discounted rate, it hardly seems worth the trouble.

It’s a digital world, but then I am as guilty as anyone of going digital.



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