Posted by: Jon Fine on March 30, 2007
Time Inc. Shutters Life, Mediaweek, 3/26/07
The iconic title, which will continue to operate online and through its books, had begun to find its footing after a rocky start since its most recent reincarnation.
Ad pages rose 5.4 percent to 395.3 last year through Dec. 25, per the Mediaweek Monitor.
‘Life’ Not Living Up To Expectations, Crain’s New York Business (via Ad Age), 12/6/04
Life expects to carry 500 ad pages in 2005, which would require a roughly 40% increase over its weekly average of seven pages.
The Time Inc. argument for keeping Life going, which I found at least plausible, was that its scale was so huge that if the company got it right, the profit upside was enormous enough to cover a multitude of sins (and prior losses). The prospect of such a turnaround evidently kept the company trying to make Life work for two and a half years, and allowed it to survive rounds of cutbacks within the company.
(Until last Monday, that is.)
Among loudmouth New York media types, this last iteration of Life Magazine, The Newspaper Supplement was often derided for its decidedly soft and lite contents. I didn’t (and don’t) buy this criticism; no one is going to mistake USA Weekend or Parade for the New Yorker and the Economist.
That said, this blame-newspapers-not-us line that showed up in company communiques and press accounts, like this one:
“We hitched our star to an industry that’s not growing,” said managing editor Robert [sic—that should be Bill] Shapiro.
is just nonsense. USA Weekend and Parade both posted ad page gains last year. Life’s downfall was that advertisers never warmed to it—no more, no less.