Meredith Corp. is ending subscription service for "Ladies' Home Journal," one of the nation's oldest women's magazines, due to declining advertiser interest.
The magazine, launched in 1883, remains popular today with a circulation of 3.2 million, according to Meredith. But with a median reader age of 57, it faces tough competition for advertisers amid a sea of other women's magazines that appeal to a broader demographic. The magazine's advertising pages fell nearly 17 percent last year, while ad revenue dropped 14 percent to $152.3 million, according to Publishers Information Bureau data.
Meredith spokesman Art Slusark said Thursday said that the magazine's July edition will be its final issue sent to subscribers. After that, the magazine will go from publishing 10 times per year to a quarterly format, available only at newsstands. It will also have a website.
"It's an advertising issue, not a brand issue," Slusark said. "It's a strong brand. It has a good following."
The media landscape is constantly changing, but Thursday's announcement marks a major shift for a well-established brand.
"Ladies' Home Journal" is one of the original "seven sisters" of women's magazines, a coterie of publications that graced U.S. coffee tables for decades. All but one are still standing — "McCall's" ceased publication in 2002.
Meredith owns several of those sister titles: "Better Homes and Gardens" and "Family Circle." It acquired "Ladies' Home Journal" in 1986.
But they all face competition from newer magazines such as "Real Simple" that appeal more to younger readers, as well as titles like "More" that are specifically aimed at an older reader.
Competition is stiff for advertising. The Association of Magazine Media, an industry group, found that overall print advertising revenue increased 1 percent in 2013, while the number of ad pages fell 4 percent. This follows an 8 percent decline in ad pages and an advertising revenue loss of 3 percent in 2012.
The company will try to shift subscribers and advertisers to one of its other women's magazines. Meredith has 20 subscription magazines and produces 125 special-interest publications issues. It also owns or operates 14 television stations.