Celeb weeklies squeezed

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Bauer Publishing Group has joined the ranks of magazines making cuts this season, dropping the rate bases at both its weekly celebrity magazines and cutting staff at Life and Style.

As of January 2009, In Touch, which currently boasts a circulation of 1 million, will see its rate base reduced by 20%, to 800,000, and Life and Style will drop its weekly rate base 27%, from 550,000 to 400,000. Life and Style also will lay off publisher Maria Padova and its six-person advertising and marketing staff, folding their duties into those of the newly named Bauer Entertainment Group. In Touch publisher Mark Oltarsh will now serve double duty as publisher of both titles.

“Bauer Publishing Group has made a strategic decision to consolidate the sales and marketing efforts for In Touch Weekly and Life & Style Weekly into the Bauer Entertainment Group,” read the company's official statement. “We are already using this approach successfully with our teen group [J-14, M and Twist] and women's service group [Woman's World and First]. The company is dedicated to delivering top quality circulation and will not resort to inferior reader sources like verified copies.”

In Touch's latest publisher's statement shows that, as of June 30, 2008, the magazine was hitting a total circulation of just over 955,000, under-delivering on its 1 million rate base by 4.4%. Circulation peaked at 1,290,769 in 2007, when the rate base was 1,200,000. Life and Style was delivering a total paid and verified circulation of 528,294 as of June 30, 2008 — 3.9% below its guaranteed rate base, and down from its 2007 total circulation of 716,734.

The cuts, like many in the magazine industry, can be linked to faltering ad sales. Bauer, which generates a vast majority of its circulation numbers from newsstand sales — 95% for In Touch, 98% for Life and Style — may also be feeling the blow of consumers cutting back on impulse buys.

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