|Some 13 ACP editorial and advertising staff will be affected by the closure of the print edition of Ralph magazine when it produces its final print edition this month with the July edition. ACP Magazines Group Publishing Director Phil Scott cited "The growth of online as a factor"
Ralph will focus on its digital future via its website www.ralph.ninemsn.com.au.
ACP Magazines will transfer some employees but redundancies are expected.
"The history of the monthly men's market is that the No. 1 masthead tends to change every six or seven years, dating back to the Penthouse and Playboy era, followed by Inside Sport and then Ralph and more recently ALPHA ," said Scott.
"The launch of Zoo as a weekly in 2006 and the subsequent arrival of cross category men's magazines such as Top Gear and Men's Health have steadily eroded the once dominant ‘lads‘ monthlies," he said. "The trend is evident all over the world and is the reason ACP re positioned FHM in May of 2008."
Scott said ACP believed the men's market remained a significant magazine category, but just as it had for the past three decades, tastes have changed.
"This evolution happens in many magazine genres, particularly those aimed at young males.
The growth of online is a factor but if history is any guide, it is not the key issue; tastes continually shift among younger readers. "
Mr Scott said ACP would continue to invest in new men's magazines that captured changing trends.
In the latest Roy Morgan readership results, Ralph increased 1.5 per cent period on period to 267,000. While Ralph magazine was unable to match the rise of Zoo Weekly as the most read men's magazine in Australia (466,000 readers per month according to latest Roy Morgan figures), over the same period, the digital audience for Ralph had grown significantly and as such the focus will continue on both web and mobile.
Joe Pollard, CEO of ninemsn said: "Both platforms are delivering strong audience numbers to our network, with April data showing Ralph page view growth of 11 per cent year on year." ninemsn produces eight out of the top 10 magazine sites in Australia, according to Nielsen's April Market Intelligence rankings, with ralph.ninemsn.com.au ranked No 8 for both unique browsers and page views.
The men's magazine category has grown significantly since Ralph's launch 13 years ago. In 1997, there were 910,470 copies of men's magazines sold in Australia, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Circulation (ABC).
By 2005, following the launch of Zoo Weekly, this figure had leapt to 5.16 million magazines. And by December 31, 2009, it had almost doubled again to 9.19 million copies sold.
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