FHM. It’s a Dead Thing. (FHM South Africa will be closing)

FHM Closing

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).

UPDATE: The final issue of FHM South Africa is out! Click here to read more, and to view all the errors in their final May 2014 issue…

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…

(You can view my FHM-archive right here)

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;

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

JUNE 2013

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. )


This from Lee-Ann Liebenberg, who was one of the first cover girls, and I honestly think that FHM helped to boost her career…

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

FHM memories: in praise of home-grown honeys. Lee-Ann, Casey, Candice… ❤❤

A post shared by Melinda Shaw (@melshaw001) on


(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.)

Read more about their final May 2014 issue right here, and spot all the errors…!

Other articles in the media about the closing of FHM South Africa


11 thoughts on “FHM. It’s a Dead Thing. (FHM South Africa will be closing)

  1. Pingback: Online publication Quartz Africa launches in mission to cover the 'next billion' - Memeburn

  2. As violence against women in SA is tapping the top, the shut down of our edition is a further step back on fight against abuse to women and children_ some of the largest market of the magazine have never been exploited ie the rural areas

  3. Pingback: Bye bye cover babes: Stuff bids farewell to ‘lad mag’ imagery | memeburn

  4. Pingback: FHM South Africa, May 2014 (FINAL ISSUE) | MediaSlut

  5. Pingback: Ken disses Barbie, and more news | 9Lives

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