Dennis Publishing is closing the print edition of Coach Magazine, naming a tougher than expected print advertising market and an “unsustainable” niche format in the health and fitness sector as reasons to discontinue the magazine after only one year of printing.
The brand will transition to an online-only model on Wednesday 14 December, when the last print issue will be released.
As part of the change the website’s content will be repositioned to cater for both male and female readers, drawing on the expertise from the wider portfolio of fitness titles at Dennis Publishing, which includes Women's Fitness, Men's Fitness and Health & Fitness.
This means the publisher will remove the silos between its portfolio of health brands, instead feeding relevant content from each brand to the Coach website, which will act as a "broad" brand, according to James Tye, chief executive of Dennis Publishing.
"We feel we can create a more universal portal using Coach magazine, we think we can increase the reach, broaden the content," he said. "At the moment we surface content in an individual way, we want to surface content across our health brands."
The free magazine launched in October 2015 with a circulation of 300,000 copies. In the August ABCs it came third in the free men’s magazine sector, behind Shortlist and Sport, with a circulation of 300,997 copies.
Despite a healthy readership, Tye admitted the magazine was in the "wrong sector for media spend". The business model is more dependent on print advertising in the free market, since this is the only revenue stream.
Couple that with a free magazine market that is becoming increasingly bloated as more brands try to offset readership declines with a free model, and the result is "unsustainable".
"2016 has turned out to be a much tougher print advertising environment than expected for a new launch in the narrow health and fitness sector, which has made continuing to publish Coach in its current format, unsustainable," Tye said.
"Looking forward at 2017 we see it being a least as challenging if not more so."
The publisher has entered into a two week consultation period with the affected staff.