St. Joseph Media will "suspend publication" of two titles at the end of the year. Wish and Gardening Life will be closed, according to a memo sent to staff by St. Joseph Media president Douglas Knight:
It is with reluctance and sadness that we are announcing today we are suspending publication of Wish and Gardening Life magazines as of the end of this year.While these difficult decisions may not be a total surprise, they are never easy. And they take nothing away from the pride we share in the creative excellence of Wish and Gardening Life magazines. Both magazines have been widely praised for the quality of their journalism, photography and design under the inspired leadership of Jane Francisco, Sandy Kim, Doug Wallace, Caren Watkins and Marjorie Harris.
Both magazines have also connected deeply with their loyal readers. Readers of Wish have responded with particular enthusiasm to the 20-Minute Supper Club, which has grown to more than 55,000 online members. As a result we will be launching a stand-alone website and a 20-Minute Supper Club annual magazine in the New Year. Similarly Toronto Life will add a Home and Gardening annual to its successful series of annual supplements.
The global financial crisis has triggered such a dramatic decline in advertising markets that prudent media companies around the world are evaluating their portfolios and making tough decisions about those brands least able to withstand the downturn. Announcements of closures and cutbacks from Canada, the US and Europe in recent weeks are testimony to how widespread these conditions are.
As a group St. Joseph Media has significantly outperformed the market and we are well positioned to weather the storm. 2009 will see the launching of a number of new initiatives as we continue to seek innovative ways to leverage our strengths and to serve our readers and our advertisers.
Inevitably a number of our colleagues will be leaving St Joseph Media as a result of these decisions, but the road is long and the magazine world is small so we hope the future may hold opportunities to work together again. Please join me in wishing everyone at Wish and Gardening Life well.
Gardening Life, founded in 1996, had a paid circulation around 72,000, according the latest report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Ad pages, including inserts and supplements, were actually up 5% in the first three quarters of 2008, according to data from Leading National Advertisers Canada.
Wish, launched in 2004, had a paid circulation around 83,000, according to the latest ABC data. LNA numbers show that ad pages, including inserts and supplements, were down 5% in the first three quarters of this year.
More to come.