Back from the dead: Vibe gets a reprise
The urban music magazine has been acquired by a new publisher that plans to relaunch it, in somewhat scaled-back form, while beefing up its web presence. The new owner, InterMedia Partners, hopes to make Vibe profitable again by pairing it with the other properties it owns: Uptown, a high-end lifestyle magazine aimed at African-Americans, and Soul Train, the long-running music and dance show, which is currently out of production but is slated to return soon.
According to The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, the rebirth of Vibe will begin with the reintroduction of Vibe.com in the next few weeks. The print edition won't return until November; even then, it will be a modest affair: The title's circulation is being cut in half, from 600,000 to 300,000, and its frequency will be downgraded from 10 times a year to quarterly. (Vibe's previous owner, Wicks Group, cut two issues a year from its frequency in February as a cost-saving measure.)
Over the last couple of years, the advertising recession and the migration of ad dollars from print to online have combined to claim numerous magazines. However, Vibe's pedigree -- it was founded by music impresario Quincy Jones, and won the National Magazine Award for general excellence in 2002 -- ensured that its closure, first reported by DailyFinance, received an unusual degree of attention. Jones said last month that he intended to buy back Vibe and reinvent it as a web-only brand. It's unclear what, if anything, came of that effort.
The sale and relaunch of Vibe was first reported by Advertising Age.