Stuff magazine to fold into Maxim

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The future owners of Dennis Publishing's men's titles plan to fold Stuff as a standalone magazine in the fall and make it a section in flagship Maxim, sources told Mediaweek. No word on the fate of Stuff's staffers. John Lumpkin, publisher of Stuff, said a change in Stuff's publishing schedule is news to him. "There's been no discussion of suspending publication," he said.

Kent Brownridge, who will head up the new company, did not return calls.

The news hardly comes as a shock; it was widely expected Stuff would take a different form after it was sold, along with Dennis Publishing's other U.S. men's titles, to private equity firm Quadrangle Group, in a $240-plus million deal. Alpha Media Group, the new name for Dennis Publishing's men's titles, is expected to close on the deal as early as next week.

Dennis launched Stuff as a smaller-circ, shopping-focused title, to block Emap's FHM from gaining ground on Maxim by offering advertisers a lower-cost alternative to Maxim. But Stuff has teetered between the red and black, and FHM folded late last year, leading some to question Stuff's reason for being.

This year through August, Stuff's ad pages declined 3.4% to 392, per the Mediaweek Monitor. Total paid and verified circ, meanwhile, declined 4.8% to 1.2 million in the second half of 2006, with single-copy sales plummeting 34.9%, per the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Alpha Media Group, meanwhile, is expected to pour resources into Maxim and its other magazine, music monthly Blender.

Ex-Wenner Media exec Kent Brownridge, who's heading up Alpha, plans to take aim at his former employer's sweet spot, Rolling Stone. Alpha plans to up Blender's rate base to 900,000 from 800,000 in January 2008, and again to 1 million in January '09, by improving newsstand sales and distribution.
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