Hallmark Magazine shutters

Hallmark Magazine, the bimonthly lifestyle title from Hallmark Cards Inc., is ending its three-year print run with the February/March issue.

Unlike many of its peers, the magazine had been fairly successful in winning ad pages and subscribers — doubling its rate base in just three years, from 400,000 to 800,000. It also increased its ad pages by 23% between the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2008. However, a “comprehensive analysis” of business trends in the publishing industry persuaded Hallmark to shutter, according to a company statement.

“We really need to focus all of our efforts on our core businesses, and the projects that we know can lead to long-term growth,” said Julie O’Dell, public relations director, Hallmark Cards Inc. “It’s very disappointing because consumer acceptance really was positive and advertiser interest was great, too, but we just needed to maintain a clear focus.”

The magazine’s readers, generally women in their mid-40s with children, will be contacted by the company to work out subscription fulfillment. There also will be a 1-800 number for subscribers to call and a posting on the Web site detailing the situation. Subscribers will be offered refunds or other Hallmark products, on which O’Dell declined to elaborate.

Hallmarkmagazine.com, the magazine’s Web site, also will be shuttered, and the magazine’s 28 staffers will be let go, along with 10 employees in Hallmark’s Kansas City creative division. O’Dell explained that, without the staff, the company wouldn’t be able to keep up the site with the content their audience was used to.

The “core businesses” that Hallmark will focus on going forward include its greeting cards and Gold Crown stores, Hallmark.com and the Hallmark Channel.

The final issue of Hallmark is already on newsstands.

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