WWE Confirms It's Shutting Down Magazine Division

Chris Harrington@mookieghanaFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2014

WWE Magazine
WWE MagazineMichael N. Todaro/Getty Images

Nestled in WWE's second-quarter results, the company announced that as part of its cost cutting initiative it would be shutting down its storied magazine publishing business. As explained in WWE's annual report, the company had been regularly publishing two magazines—WWE Magazine and WWE Kids—along with periodic special magazines.

Talking New Media confirmed this week that the final issues will be September's issue for WWE Kids and the October issue for the WWE Magazine. In recent years, WWE has annually published a dozen issues of WWE Magazine, 10 issues of the WWE Kids magazine and three special magazines.

WWE's magazine division has evolved over the last 30 years. In April 2013, WWE Magazine became available via digital platforms. Currently, the company describes WWE Magazine, per its annual report, as a "global men’s lifestyle publication."

Meanwhile, the WWE Kids brand, which was launched in April 2008, is described in a previous annual report as a "bi-monthly publication for 6-14 year old WWE fans."

Stemming from the brand split that began back in January 2004, WWE had also published separate Raw and SmackDown magazines. Those two magazines lasted until July 2006, when they were merged to form WWE Magazine.

Prior to that, WWE had published Raw Magazine (which dates way back to April 1996) alongside its long-running WWE Magazine. Of course, WWE Magazine was originally WWF Magazine. The magazine was renamed in June 2002 in conjunction with the company's shift from WWF to WWE. The World Wrestling Federation Magazine (WWF Magazine) goes all the way back to 1983 (including a short two-issue stint originally as WWF Victory Magazine).

WWF Victory Magazine
WWF Victory MagazinePhoto: WWE.com

Revenue, profits and circulation for the magazine division have been tumbling for years. Net units sold dropped from 6.4 million in fiscal year 2003 down to 1.8 million by calendar year 2013.

Additionally, the division has been struggling to stay in the black. The division has had less than $1 million annual profit each year since 2010. Revenues, which used to be in the $16-11 million range (2002 to 2010), have sunk lower and lower each year. In 2013, WWE's magazine division only earned $5.7 million, and profit was less than $100,000.

WWE isn't alone in its battle to keep a viable magazine division. Print publishers have been struggling for years with falling advertising revenue. The transition to digital for magazine publishers hasn't been smooth. Originally, the magazine would provide a nice vehicle for direct-mail catalog sales. Now, WWE's WWEShop.com website provides fans with easier access to order products directly.

While it's a sad day for many long-term fans, the decision to end the struggling division during a climate of budget cuts is not surprising. And perhaps this is not the real end. It's always possible that a third-party publisher will contact WWE and license the name for future issues. 

What are some of your favorite memories from WWE's magazines? Sound off in the comments below!


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