Duncan wields axe as Bauer plots Covid-19 clear-out

QBauer Media UK publishing chief executive Chris Duncan has barely got his feet under the table and is already planning to wield the axe, with up to ten of the company’s magazine brands facing closure, merger or sell-off due to the effects of Covid-19.

Duncan joined the company late last month after 13 years at News UK, succeeding Rob Munro-Hall, who was appointed president of Bauer Media’s global publishing business.

At the time, Munro-Hall said: “Chris’ broad experience and publishing expertise will help us retain and further extend our market leading position in the UK.”

The titles under threat include music magazines Q and Planet Rock, along with Mother & Baby, Golf World, Practical Photography, Sea Angler, Car Mechanics, Modern Classics, Simply You and Your Horse.

Ironically, most of the magazines cover activities which have been enjoying a renaissance during lockdown, although it will be a few months before it is revealed whether Mother & Baby gets a boost, too.

Q magazine, which was launched in 1986, had a circulation of enjoyed sales of just over 200,000 at the turn of the century, last year sales this had plummeted to 28,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Staff who are affected by the proposals have been placed in consultation.

Duncan said that the pandemic and lockdown had further accelerated the trends already affecting the publishing industry, adding that Bauer publishes nearly 100 magazines in the UK and some titles that were already challenged are not expected to be sustainable after the crisis.

He added: “We must protect the long-term health of our business and ability to invest in future growth by reshaping our portfolio.”

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