After weeks of speculation, FHM magazine is to close, ACP has announced.
Redundancies are likely as a result.
The May issue will be its last, and the website will also be shut on the day the title is taken off the shelves.
The news comes just a month after the title saw its circulation drop by a half in the last round of ABCs.
A statement from the publisher read:
ACP Magazines today announced it will produce the final print edition of Australian men’s monthly magazine, FHM.
The May cover-date issue will be the last print edition while the website fhm.com.au will close when that issue goes off-sale on May 13th.
ACP Magazines is endeavouring to redeploy employees, however some redundancies are expected.
“The decision to close a title is never an easy one and FHM is certainly no exception,” said Matt Stanton, CEO, ACP Magazines. “FHM is a terrific brand but, given the current market conditions, it has been difficult for ACP to make it a commercially viable proposition.”
Launched in Australia by EMAP in 1998, FHM was at the forefront of the ‘lads monthlies’ phenomenon that first exploded in the United Kingdom. Its main rival in Australia was RALPH, launched by ACP Magazines in 1997.
The two titles enjoyed impressive circulation and readership for several years until the arrival of new category entries – most notably the launch of Zoo as a weekly in 2006 which, along with cross-category men’s magazines such as Top Gear and Men’s Health, steadily eroded both FHM and RALPH’s share of the category.
After acquiring the licence to publish FHM through the acquisition of EMAP Australia in 2008, ACP Magazines refined and repositioned the title as a more upmarket offering – and with great success, as the title enjoyed record advertising revenue in its October and November issues that same year.
The shifting tastes of young male readers, and the global economic downturn, forced the closure ofRALPH in June 2010, and while FHM has battled on, it has struggled to hold its circulation.
Matt Stanton paid tribute to the FHM team for its ongoing commitment to the brand.
“The editorial and advertising teams have done a remarkable job putting out a product that is as good, if not better, than the issues produced during FHM’s glory days,” he said. “What’s more, they have done so in much tougher economic times and in the face of constant media speculation over the magazine’s future. They can all hold their heads high, in spite of their obvious and understandable disappointment.”
FHM – now owned by German company, Bauer Media Group – is published in 21 territories, including China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Romania and the United Kingdom.