Harper's Bazaar, Men's Health could return in Australia under new licensing deals

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Paragon Media is a special interest publisher that prints titles such as Australian Men’s Fitness and Ecogeneration. Paragon chief executive Ian Brooks confirmed the talks and said he was hopeful of finalising the deal.

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Men’s Health and Women’s Health are the strongest health and fitness brands in Australia and we have long recognised their unique value as a channel for advertisers,” he said. “These mastheads, in an expanded print and digital ecosystem, will continue to be important in this segment and we are hopeful that discussions can be concluded.”

Brag Media, the new publisher of Rolling Stone Australia, will also launch a new magazine in the next few weeks. It is unclear whether it will be a former title from ARE Media. ARE Media staff are currently de-commissioning Harper’s Bazaar while Hearst continues talks with prospective buyers.

Before closure, Harper’s Bazaar, which was printed for more than two decades, had an average readership of 177,000 per issue. Men’s Health had an average of 318,000 readers per print edition and Women’s Health had 268,000, according to figures from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia.

It is unclear when the new magazine titles will appear on newsagent and supermarket stands. Magazine publishers have been knocked during the coronavirus pandemic by a large reduction in spending from advertisers and many were forced to suspend the printing of titles and slash jobs. Bauer even tried to renegotiate the terms of its acquisition of Seven West Media’s magazine division Pacific. Almost 400 jobs in the magazine industry were lost in the first six months of the year.

The $40 million sale of Pacific to Bauer closed in May after a tumultuous few months. It meant popular titles such as New Idea, Marie Claire and That’s Life were brought into the same company as Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day and Take 5! But shortly after the deal, the owners of Bauer decided to sell the entity to private equity, a move which prompted further job cuts and magazine closures.

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