Metropolitan Home magazine becomes latest recession victim

The good news: Magazine ad pages are actually up in the fourth quarter for the first time in a dog's age. The bad news: Metropolitan Home won't be around to enjoy it. Hachette Filipacchi Media just announced that it's shutting down the shelter title following publication of its December issue, choosing to focus its limited resources on Elle Decor, its last remaining home-design magazine. A company spokeswoman says 13 editorial staffers have been let go, including editor-in-chief Donna Warner, along with a yet-to-be-determined number of business-side employees.

Shelter publications have been hit especially hard by the advertising downturn of the past couple years -- not surprisingly, considering that the recession was precipitated by the collapse of the housing bubble. Preceding Met Home into extinction were Home, another Hachette Filipacchi title, Conde Nast's Domino and House & Garden, and Hearst's O at Home, a spinoff of O, The Oprah Magazine.

Founded in 1981, according to its Facebook page, Met Home had a circulation of 550,000 and an audience of 2.7 million. Its ad pages were down 34% in 2009, a steep drop, but somewhat shallower than some surviving shelter titles, including Architectural Digest (49.1%) and Dwell (44.8%).

In a press release, president and CEO Alain Lemarchand said, "It is with a feeling of sadness that I make the announcement to close one of our magazines. However, we believe the best strategy in the upscale shelter segment is to boldly focus our resources and investment on Elle Decor, which is the ad-page leader within the U.S. market. Despite the downturn in ad pages that has affected all magazines, the Elle Decor brand has multiple opportunities for growth across all platforms."

For the full announcement from HFM, see here.

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