Monday March 22, 2004
The Face, the magazine that was once the epitome of cool, is to close after 24 years, unless a last minute buyer can be found.
Publishers Emap have decided that the monthly glossy - which was at the cutting edge of popular culture during the 1980s and some of the 1990s - is no longer viable.
The company also confirmed to staff today that teen magazine J17 will also be closed.
Emap is understood to have received approaches from two groups potentially interested in acquiring the Face, but the atmosphere at the magazine is one of gloom.
It is understood that no approach has yet been made by Jason Donovan, the former star of Australian soap Neighbours, who is rumoured to be fronting a consortium preparing a bid for the title.
The last issue of the Face, which was launched in 1980 and went on to become an icon of fashionable publishing with cover stars such as Kate Moss and David Beckham, will be published on April 8.
Emap acquired the title in 1999, but has seen its circulation fall in recent years to just 25,000 copies a month in the UK.
Staff on the magazine, including an editorial team of 20 under editor and Popbitch founder Neil Stevenson, had been told that the magazine's future was up for review, but could continue in a different form. Despite suggestions it might continue as a website, it is thought Emap is keen to end its five-year relationship with the title.
"Publication of the Face has been suspended pending its radical reinvention, sale or closure," said the Emap Consumer Media chief executive, Paul Keenan. "Meanwhile all of our energies will be focused on further fuelling momentum around Arena, Arena Homme Plus and Pop."
The Face was never a mass-market publication, but at its peak it sold over 70,000 issues each month.
In the early 1980s, it was de rigeur for anyone in the cool brigade. As well as championing every movement from the new romantics to avant garde artists, it revolutionised magazine publishing.
At the time, the music market was dominated by Melody Maker and New Musical Express, but the Face made style and graphics as important as its journalism. Its founding art director, Neville Brody, became one of the world's most influential graphic designers.
There are no plans to sell 21-year-old J17, however. The last issue of the magazine will be published on April 9, with alternatives having been ruled out. It is understood that some elements of J17 may be merged into Emap's more successful teen title, Bliss.
"Closing J17 enables Emap Consumer Media to focus all of its efforts and resources on making Bliss the market leading title for teenage girls," " added Mr Keenan.
nb: this is actually true, just thought you should know.
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