Even BOGOFs couldn’t save Eureka
The received wisdom is that today’s announcement of the closure of News Internationals’ (NI) Eureka magazine has come as a shock to nobody, either within News International (NI) or within media agency or advertising land.
NI launched the monthly science title Eureka to much fanfare three years ago – a title which was the brainchild of the then chief executive James Murdoch, who has a penchant for all things scientific.
Eureka was Murdoch’s baby and whether it would have been launched if Murdoch wasn’t in charge of NI is questionable, it is rumoured.
The last edition of the Eureka printed title, which was distributed with the Times, will appear this week, before NI shuts the door on the title for good.
NI for all its expertise and pedigree in publishing newspapers has always struggled publishing magazines; magazines have always seemed like an afterthought and something that NI never took too seriously.
Back in 2008, NI shut down its magazine unit- which published SkyMag customer title and consumer title Love It!- after it was unable to stem £10m-a-year losses.
Over the years, there have been plenty of rumours about NI buying into magazines- such as purchasing ShortList Media, publisher of ShortList- but nothing has ever materialised.
Quite simply, NI’s focus has always been on the Times and The Sun newspaper brands.
Talking to media agency sources and they will tell you that Eureka was a difficult sell from the get-go- a magazine whose readership was not one strived after by advertisers, despite many of them being in the ABC1s category.
While advertisers of the debut issue of the title included high-profile brands such as Shell and BMW, soon after, it is claimed, Eureka’s troubles unfolded.
One agency source said NI has frequently struggled to sell advertising in the title, despite the 400,00 plus reach of the Times, forcing NI commercial executives to offer free slots for those brands which took out ads in The Times- nothing short of a BOGOF (Buy one get one free).
In a way, it is a shame Eureka is going, as this dedicated science offered readers of national newspapers something different in the market, away from the humdrum of glossy, stylist supplements.
At least, NI claims that its science coverage won’t be going down the pan, as the coverage of Eureka will be shifted online.