UK men's weekly Shortlist is poised to shutter its print operation to coincide with its publisher changing its name from Shortlist Media to The Stylist Group – putting Shortlist's sister women's title front and centre.
Shortlist is the UK's most-widely read men's title according to the most recent ABC figures. As recently as August the free title had a monthly distribution of 502,667.
However, the magazine will now go online-only, with a focus on generating revenue through affiliate links and product recommendations. "The brand will live on as ShortList.com and will evolve from a men’s lifestyle brand to a product recommender," said the company in a press release.
The overhaul at Shortlist has been engineered to reflect plans for an expansion of Stylist, the free women's weekly with a print circulation of 403,855. Stylist has been heavily focused on building its name through events like Stylist Live and is also plotting a move into the US.
Led by chief executive Ella Dolphin, The Stylist Group will be centered around the "power brand", under editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski.
As part of "a radical restructure" the company will focus entirely on being the "leading media brand for women across all platforms". It currently has 2.1 million months readers in the UK, and the move to build a US presence has already started with staff been hired to attract readers in the States.
Explaining the strategy, The Stylist Group said Family – its in-house creative agency – has seen a 40% lift in female-targeted creative partnerships against the same period last year.
The Drum has contacted The Stylist Group for further information and clarification on how many staff will be impacted by the closure of Shortlist's print edition. At the time of writing it had yet to respond.
Shortlist editor Joseph Mackertich tweeted in relation to the news, but didn't go into further detail.
Very sad but very proud. Thanks for reading, everyone.
— Joseph Mackertich (@j_mackertich) November 16, 2018
Although product-focused, Shortlist's pivot to become an online-only title echoes a similar move made by music magazine NME at the start of the year. Eight months on, NME has turned its fortunes around with record traffic and is on track to beat its profit targets this year.