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Planet Rock magazine to close, Q could survive under new ownership

By | Published on Wednesday 24 June 2020

Bauer Media

Bauer Media yesterday announced that its Planet Rock magazine will close, while talks are ongoing about a sale of Q magazine.

The media company confirmed last month that it was reviewing the future of ten of the titles in its magazine portfolio. Of those ten, three will close, one will go digital only, one will merge with another title, while the other five are all subject to sale talks.

Making money from magazines has become increasingly challenging over the years of course, with print sales pretty much in decline across the board, and plenty of challenges on the online side where Google and Facebook are major competitors for advertising income. Meanwhile, to date, only really business titles and broadsheet newspapers have made any progress when it comes to online subscriptions.

The impact of COVID-19 on ad sales and the distribution of print titles through the high street has only increased all those challenges in recent months.

Of the two music magazines that were part of Bauer’s review, it’s the relatively young Planet Rock magazine that will go. It was launched in 2017 as a magazine spin-off of the Bauer-owned radio station of the same name.

Given Planet Rock magazine was newer and less well-known, when Bauer announced its magazine review last month much more attention in the music community was given to the future of Q, it being one of the UK’s classic music monthlies. In its statement yesterday Bauer said that it was now “in advanced stages” in talks to sell the title, allowing it to continue to publish under new ownership.

It’s not known if that possible buyer is another media group. As an increasing number of music magazines start to look to subscriptions and donations from their core online audience as a primary business model, being in independent ownership becomes a strength, as readers are more assured that any monies they pledge are going to the journalists rather than corporate owners.

Commenting on the outcome of its portfolio review, Bauer’s CEO of UK publishing, Chris Duncan, said: “In order to protect the long-term health of our publishing business we have had to make tough decisions about the future of some much-loved titles. While some magazines sadly will close, we remain hopeful that a number will continue to publish under new ownership. We remain fully committed and positive about the strength of our remaining portfolio”.

The other Bauer magazines to close are Simply You and Practical Photography. Mother & Baby will become online only and Golf World will merge with another golfing magazine owned by the media firm. The other four titles up for sale are Car Mechanics, Modern Classics, Your Horse and Sea Angler.