It’s official. Media24 will be closing the pages of FHM South Africa. FHM – It’s a Dead Thing* (Playing on their well known tagline of “It’s a Guy Thing”, but this has also recently changed to “It’s Great to be a Man!”)
This comes after FHM has had a rough couple of years plagued with ‘scandal’ (not necessarily at their own fault), Editors leaving quietly with no warning, poor copy sales (down year after year, with a peak at “160 000 in July 2005 with a Britney cover of the 100 Sexiest issue”, from Hagen Engler, ex-ex-FHM-editor) and very little advertising support (see below).
FHM South Africa is currently 15 years old. The staff were informed yesterday morning (Monday 7 April 2014).
Of course it’s never wished upon any title or team for a magazine to close down, because behind every magazine there’s a dedicated team, and also dedicated readers that might see the specific title as the best title in the whole wide world. But every year long standing titles close, and every year new magazine babies are born. It’s the cycle of the game, but it’s not always nice…
NOTE: There has been no official word or press release from FHM or Media24 yet. Thus I also don’t know when the last issue will be, but rumour is that the
June 2014 May 2014 issue will be their last. As soon as they communicate this, I will update this post. On the 7th of April, I’ve contacted Jacques Breytenbach for comment, but no reply. He has however commented on this BusinessTech article, and here’s what was written:
In response to questions posed by BusinessTech, Jacques Breytenbach, GM: Lifestyle at Media24 Magazines said: “Media24 Magazines are in consultation with both the editorial team of FHM magazine and the licensor (Bauer Media UK) regarding the future of the magazine in the Media24 stable.”
“We do, however, consider these consultations as confidential and we are unfortunately not at liberty to divulge any further information at this stage. We will only be able to do so once the consultations have been concluded,” Breytenbach said.
UPDATE: I was told by a source that the office space that FHM is currently in, was also the same office space that Saltwater Girl AND Sports Illustrated was in, and both these titles also closed… Definitely bad vibes in that office space, it seems…
Article questioning the future of “lads mags”, with quotes from MediaSlut
Sunday Magazine, Sunday Tribune, 13 April 2014
Sunday Argus, 13 April 2014
My history with FHM
I’ve been a fan of FHM since my high school days (since 1999, which is also when it launched, if I’m not mistaken), making FHM South Africa part of my shopping list every month, with the very little R100 spending money I received every month. Something about the magazine just spoke to me, and I was able to read every single bit, and of course I was quite popular because the other boys loved paging through it also…
But if we’re honest, something about the core of this South African brand has changed over the years, and the readers have realized that, and moved on to either other magazines, or digitally.
A South African version of MAXIM has also launched with an October 2013 issue, but I doubt that this had much of an impact on the reason to close FHM South Africa.
FHM not too happy with me…
I’ve been hearing via the grapevine that FHM wasn’t too happy with my blog posts in 2013. Why, I’m not sure, because I only wrote what was blatant or the truth, and I even took their side when the whole Max/Montle-debacle broke up and voiced my support for them, or stated that I hoped the ex-editor didn’t get pressure to resign because of everything that happened…
I’m still not sure what I wrote in 2013 about FHM that got them M.A.D., but here’s a summary of 2013 and how I covered it;
- Reeva Steenkamp was killed on Valentine’s Day, and she was very closely linked to FHM, so it was just interesting to me that there was no mention of her in the ed’s letter, or any part of their April 2013 issue.
- It might be that I was a bit sour for not being invited to one of The Magazine Events in Cape Town, even after I asked for an invited directly…
- The whole debacle with ex-FHM employees Max Barashenkov and Montle Moroosi started middle July 2013, which made International News. I felt very strongly that FHM should not be blamed or disadvantaged because of this.
- In retrospect, reading the August 2013 issue (the last they both worked on) after the Max/Montle-debacle, was almost like reading a letter someone wrote after their death… Max even played editor for a section of the magazine, with his own editors letter.
- With the September 2013 issue I just showed what they changed in the magazine to show no trace of Max or Montle.
- And with the November 2013 issue, I noticed that Brendan Cooper has left as editor, very quietely.
- You can view ALL my FHM posts right here in my FHM-archive.
- Ex-ex-Editor Hagen Engler
asked to stepped down“resigned”… (April 2012)
Declining Advertising support for FHM…
An FHM reader actually directed my attention to the very few ads in their issues…
Every magazine they publish is on average 134 pages. The advertising-ratio of every magazine is different, but the norm is 60% editorial and 40% advertising (as a starting point, and to make the numbers works…). That would mean FHM needs to consist of 80 pages editorial and 54 pages advertising. Even if the % changes to 30% towards advertising, it comes it at about 40 ads.
I couldn’t go back too many issues to count the number of ads, but looking at the past year or so, I was able to find the following: The number of ads went from 19 ads in June 2013, all the way down to 6 ½ pages of advertising in their January 2014 issue (4,8% advertising-ratio)… A lot factors are of course at play, but I’m just pointing it out.
Some of the pages one can also assume are as part of a Trade Exchange, as it’s quite known in the industry that brands like DStv and 5fm prefer not to pay full price for ads, but rather trade in advertising space on their own platforms.
Counting the ads
(Possible Trade/Free Advertising marked with *)
1 x Richelieu, 1 x Honda, 2 x Cardies, 1 x Matildas.co.za, 1 x LG, ½ x Tall Horse Wine, 1 x Nivea, 1 x 5fm*, 1 x DStv*, 1 x Casio = 10 ½ pages advertising
2 x Hyandai, 2 x Nivea, 2 x SONY Xperia, 2 x Mr Price, 1 x Samsung Galaxy S4, 1 x Honda, 1 x Amstel, 1 x Ford, 1 x LG, 1 x Avon, 1 x Mini Cooper, 1 x R.O.S.E., 1 x DStv/SuperSport*, 1 x TopGear Festival, 1 x Casio = 19 pages advertising
JULY 2013 (100 sexiest Issue)
2 x Audi, 2 x Nivea, 2 x Volkswagen, 1 x Cellini, 1 x Samsung, 1 x Mazda, 1 x Chevrolet, 1 x DStv/VUZU*, 1 x Catering Equipment Manufacturers, 1 x Samsung, 1 x Firestone, 1 x TopCar Magazine*, 1 x DStv/SuperSport*, 1 x Casio = 17 pages advertising
1 x Nivea, 1 x Cardies, 1 x Astra Sedan, ½ x Schick, 1 x Titan, 1 x EA Sports, 1 x KFC, 1 x GUESS, 1 x Canon, 1 x Converse Shoes, 1 x 5fm*, 1 x DStv/SuperSport*, 1 x Casio = 12 ½ pages advertising
1 x Guess, 1 x SONY PS3, 2 x 5FM*, 1 x DStv/SuperSport*, 1 x Casio, ½ x Shick = 6 ½ pages advertising (4,8% advertising-ratio). (You can do your own sums of how many pages might have actually been paid for)
2 x Audi, 1 x M-Net/Survivor*, 1 x Somerset Wines, 1 x Topgear, 1 x DStv/SuperSport*, 1 x Casio = 7 pages advertising (5,2% advertising-ratio)
I think it’s safe to say that it’s not possible for any magazine (anywhere in the world) to make an existence with the above amount of advertising support. I don’t know the actual reasons why the title has been closed, but based on the above, I think it’s safe to say that declining advertising support could be a possible reason.
Comments on Twitter
(As yet, FHM South Africa has not mention anything official on either of their Social Media Platforms. When they do, I will add it below. )
Hmm, so FHM is closing down – long overdue. Its readers have grown up; They read GQ and Mens Health now. It’s relevance died.
— Vuvu Nqezane (@This_Is_Vuvu) April 7, 2014
@MediaSlut I feel this is going to be a recurring theme for the future years Niche publications will soon start exiting if they don’t adapt
— Darren Blair (@darren_blair01) April 7, 2014
At its peak, FHM had a circulation of nearly 90,000. A few years later- doors closed. A loud warning shot to ignorant print media owners.
— Chris Botha (@chrismediabotha) April 7, 2014
— MediaSlut (@MediaSlut) April 7, 2014
@chrismediabotha drivel is easily accessible on the interwebs… FHM was always quite kak
— East Rand Mullet (@EastRandMullet) April 7, 2014
@This_Is_Vuvu tok much free online porn also played a huge role in the mag’s death.
— khanyi khanyile (@khanyi101) April 7, 2014
— Christine vanD (@christine_vanD) April 8, 2014
So after 15 years, @FHMSouthAfrica is ending the chapter. Mag industry is in an interesting place, time for creativity & reinvention.
— Luke (@TheLukism) April 8, 2014
— Leo G. Smit (@Leotjie) April 8, 2014
Wow… @FHMSouthAfrica is closing down… What a sad day for the industry. It really is a fantastic magazine.
— El Broide (@ElBroide) April 8, 2014
So @FHMSouthAfrica is closing down… absolutely gutted 😥
— Harold Johnson (@_Potz_) April 8, 2014
@FHMSouthAfrica sadly another publication leaving our shores! Is print dead?
— ☆Chantz☆ (@MissStarChanty) April 7, 2014
Some men after they heard FHM is closing down. *No more suspiciously long bathroom breaks with the magazine* pic.twitter.com/KQrBXwVulQ
— Bonga Dlulane (@BongaDlulane) April 8, 2014
The magazine industry is dying. First SA Sports Illustrated, then Seventeen & now FHM. — Reese Withoutaspoon (@Reesiebabygirl) April 7, 2014
Rumour has it that FHM magazine is closing. In related news, PC Format magazine is also closing down. Tough industry right now!
— Dax Villanueva (@RelaxWithDax) April 7, 2014
Ouch, FHM Magazine is closing down. Guess the 16-year-old male audience eventually grew up? Digital Opportunity? http://t.co/5f6gfiWQBA
— Candace Newton (@Candynewton) April 8, 2014
So FHM is closing… not sure it’s so much a reflection of the print industry as opposed to dwindling sales & advertising figures?
— Sam Wright (@IAmSamW) April 8, 2014
@kuliroberts how can they do that to us I’m such a fan
— Brian Siyabonga (@trinenchuller) April 8, 2014
Internet killed the FHM star
— John Beale (@jtbeale) April 8, 2014
Haven’t bought an issue in years, but still a shock if a mag like FHM closes down.
— Nicolaas (@nicolaasvrvo) April 8, 2014
FHM, the mag that screamed on its cover: “Breaking News: Women love Sex Too!” is closing down. I for one won’t miss it.
— Caterina Toffoli (@MissToffoli) April 7, 2014
Had a good time interning at FHM magazine (@FHMSouthAfrica) while it lasted. We drank ON THE JOB with the editor’s blessing. RIP FHM mag.
— Suprise Mazibila (@Suprisem) April 9, 2014
— MediaSlut (@MediaSlut) April 9, 2014
And so with digital media slowly taking over, FHM is closing its doors.
— Adriaan Louw (@adriaanhlouw) April 8, 2014
Sad for their readers, but even more sad for the staff who now lose their gig. “@melshaw001: RIP FHM”
— Mark Pilgrim (@MarkPilgrimZA) April 7, 2014
This from Lee-Ann Liebenberg, who was one of the first cover girls, and I honestly think that FHM helped to boost her career…
Sooooo damn sad that FHM SA is closing :(((( — Lee-Ann Liebenberg (@LeeAnn_L) April 8, 2014
And this collection of tweets from Melinda Shaw, who was a founding editor of Heat South Africa, and part of the team who launched FHM South Africa. d
RIP FHM. it was a guy thing. thanks for the memories. 😦 — melinda shaw (@melshaw001) April 7, 2014
— melinda shaw (@melshaw001) April 7, 2014
FHM memories: when advocate barbie came into the office proudly bearing a flipfile of topless pics of herself. how to politely decline…
— melinda shaw (@melshaw001) April 7, 2014
FHM memories: the FHM conference in Miami, with the cuban cigars, a restaurant called Bed, and crowdsurfing with the boys from FHM France
— melinda shaw (@melshaw001) April 7, 2014
FHM memories:the “almost life size” foldout cover of J-Lo on issue 2 & the time spent around Caryn’s computer crafting cover lines as a team
— melinda shaw (@melshaw001) April 7, 2014
(No official press release has been sent out yet, and I have asked the Publisher for comment, but nothing yet. As soon as I receive this, I will update the post.)
Other articles in the media about the closing of FHM South Africa
- BusinessTech, 8 April 2014: FHM South Africa shutting its doors?
- Die Burger, 10 April 2014: Nie almal huil oor FHM sluit
- Beeld, 10 April 2014: FHM sluit sy deure in SA (Same article as Die Burger, but has a picture gallery of some of the top FHM beauties included)
- Channel24, 10 April 2014: SA’s FHM closing its doors (Not a very informative article at all, but an interesting read purely for the comments…)