Stuff magazine will no longer be published by Times Media, the company announced today. Times Media (formerly Avusa Media) has published the title under license from Haymarket Media Group in the United Kingdom for the past five years.
“Times Media’s license to publish Stuff SA was not renewed,” the company said in a statement. The November/December 2012 issue would be its last. The title has been picked up by Gisèle Wertheim Aymés, the owner and publishing editor of Longevity Media who for a long while headed Times Media’s magazine division, and her business director, Sally Hudson.
According to a highly placed source, Times Media could not match Wertheim Aymés offer, and was also reluctant to take the title monthly, which the new publishers will do as of May 2013.
“We are developing a more quick-footed and appropriate model for independent media publishing in South Africa,” Wertheim Aymés says. “It is about bringing together the best and most appropriate talent to work in a collaborative, collective environment, where there’s direct ownership in the brands they put so much intellect, passion and hard work into.”
Times Media, in the meantime, announced that it will be launching a magazine to take the place of Stuff, but which would have a broader outlook in terms of content so as to attract lifestyle as well as technology advertising.
“We have a very capable, proven team and an extensive track record of successfully launching and developing publications in the South African market,” says Charles Boffard, who will edit the new title. “Now we’re turning our talents, relationships and market knowledge to launching a home-grown South African magazine title for the luxury market at the beginning of the year.”
Marketing strategist Taryn Gill, who is working on positioning Times Media’s new title, says the move to create a new title came from a “strategic perspective” that looked at Times Media’s offering in terms of the men’s market. Having closed Soccer Life a year ago, the company decided it was time to revisit that market segment, and rather than take the risk of taking Stuff monthly, it decided to launch an all new magazine.
“Stuff was niche in terms of advertising,” says Gill, “so content in the new publication will add a lifestyle component to the mix. The first issue is already in production, and will hit the shelves in February.”
Stuff launch editor, Toby Shapshak, said it would “continue to be everything you want to know about everything you need”. Shapshak will be the publishing editor in the new organisation. “It’s great to be working with dedicated professionals like Gisèle and Sally, which will enable Stuff to grow even further.”
Stuff has performed well, with the ABC figures for the first half of 2012 breaking the 25 000 mark with its year-on-year increase from 23 215 copies to 25 811. That’s an 11.18% increase, in a period when some established men’s titles have dropped circulation significantly.
Stuff will also be launching an online publication soon, promising to bring “Stuff’s usual wit and honest reviews to an online audience”.