Eco-friendly magazine won’t be killing trees anymore

Rodale’s Organic Life won’t be contributing to the compost heap any longer.

The eco-friendly lifestyle magazine said Friday its February/March issue will be its last in print as it switches to an all-digital format.

The suspension of print after only 12 issues of the bimonthly title is a blow to Rodale Chief Executive Maria Rodale, who had taken one of the family-owned company’s flagship titles, 70 year-old Organic Gardening, and used its subscriber base to pump up the new title.

The first issue of Rodale’s Organic Life only hit shelves in April 2015 with a May/June issue. Now Rodale is slamming on the breaks.

“Our research tells us that when consumers are seeking information and making decisions about living more naturally, organically and sustainability, they are increasingly looking for the information online,” Maria Rodale said in a statement.

“That includes the majority of the brand’s new online users as well as our heritage organic and gardening audiences, and reflects the growing environmental consciousness that we look to serve and nurture with our content,” she said.

The magazine was one of the few major launches from a major publisher in 2015 and initially its start-up costs were reduced because it did not have to spend much money to find new subscribers.

But subscribers to the old Organic Gardening title apparently turned thumbs-down on the new magazine. While they left, they were not replaced by enough new readers.

In the second half of 2015, paid subscriptions fell 14.5 percent and in the first half of 2016, they fell 5.6 percent down to 259,003. Single-copy sales were actually up dramatically, but it was off of a tiny base and totalled only 23,883 in the first half of 2016, up 43 percent compared to the year earlier.

To reach its guaranteed circulation of 300,000,Rodale had to give away more than 31,000 copies of each issue in the first half of 2016. Second-half figures have not yet been released by the Alliance for Audited Media.
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