ShortList shuts print title as publisher rebrands

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Friday 16 November 2018

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Shortlist Media is shutting ShortList, its flagship men’s print title, and has rebranded itself as The Stylist Group.

shortlist-400th-issue-cover

In 2015 ShortList's 400th print issue featured a 'tribute to what makes men great'

A report today (16 November) from Campaign said the group will shift its focus to Stylist, its female ‘power brand’, though added ShortList will continue to operate online where it will focus on product recommendations that generate revenue through affiliate links.

ShortList was launched as a free ad-funded print title in 2007 in a landscape when paid-for ‘lads’ magazines such as Nuts and Zoo were still proving popular.

According to the latest magazine ABC figures, the title has a current circulation of 502,667 free copies a week and is the top UK men’s weekly magazine by circulation.

The title has struggled in recent times, however, in the increasingly tough men’s lifestyle advertising market, and in 2017 the owner of Stylist and ShortList reportedly made annual revenues of £22.6m – down 8% year-on-year – and posted a pre-tax loss of £4.7m.

Stylist was thought to make up around £15m of this turnover, twice as much as ShortList despite a smaller print run of 403,885.

The publisher has now started a consultation with affected staff and Campaign reported that at least 20 jobs are likely to be cut.

The Stylist Group chief executive Ella Dolphin said Stylist has “good, long-term growth prospects”, including more live events, online growth in the US and the launch of a new fitness brand and studio in 2019.

“The Stylist Group is investing in building a power brand at a time when feminism and the united force of women has never been more relevant,” she said.

ShortList had been printed at Polestar Sheffield until it was moved onto the continent after the business collapsed. It is currently unclear as to when the final print issue of the title will be published.

In a turbulent week for the magazine industry, Hearst UK announced a new brand strategy for Esquire earlier this week, revealing plans for a relaunched magazine, a refreshed website and the launch of a new bespoke series of events.

The publisher said it would invest in Esquire’s print magazine to enhance its luxury positioning by introducing a cleaner, more modern aesthetic, a bigger size format, better quality paper stock, increased paginations and new sections and contributors.

Its publication frequency will be reduced from ten to six issues per year and its cover price will be increased to £6.

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