PCMag folds print edition and moves online only
NEW YORK - Ziff Davis Media is ending the print edition of its flagship title, PCMag, after 26 years and will publish the magazine online only.
Seven out of PCMag's 140 staff are expected to be cut during the transition, mostly coming from the production, circulation and advertising departments. The final print edition will hit news stands in January 2009.
The magazine, which had a circulation peak in the late 1990s with 1.2m readers, has seen readership steadily decline over the past ten years to about 600,000.
In that time it has also gone from a bi-weekly title, averaging about 400 pages an issue, with some issues breaking the 500 and the 600 page marks, to a monthly, with a continued strong emphasis on its online edition at PCMag.com.
First launched in 1982, the magazine provides reviews and advice to technology buyers looking at computers, smart phones, software, web services, HDTVs and printers.
Jason Young, chief executive of Ziff Davis Media, said the magazine was profitable in 2008, but forecasted a loss in 2009 due to dwindling advertising revenue and rising costs.
Young said the transition would be smooth, since online has been the focal point for Ziff Media for the past eight years.
PCMag usually publishes its articles on its website, and then handpicks stories for its print edition. Today, the website attracts over 7m unique monthly visitors, more than 10 times the circulation of its print edition.
Young said: "We have been carefully preparing for this step and are fortunate to have a digital business that has the scale, profit, and opportunity to carry the brand powerfully into the future."
The website, now renamed the PCMag Digital Network, is where PCMag gets over 80% of its profits and has also introduced a number of targeted advertising platforms over the past couple months.
It includes a number of other sites such as Gearlog, Appscout, Smart Device Central, Cranky Geeks, and PCMagCast.
Young said: "The internet is a powerful marketing platform that combines perfectly with the highly contextual nature of our content and allows us to deliver marketers active buyers with powerful engagement and strong return on their investment."
Also for readers that prefer the traditional magazine feel, a digital version of PCMag will be made available.
PCMag follows other well-established titles to make the transition to 100% digital, such as daily newspaper the Christian Science Monitor, which folded its print edition last month.
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