May 23, 2024

The weekly print edition of Soap Opera Digest — the newsstand chronicler of daytime drama — is ending after nearly five decades.

Staffers were informed of the decision Friday, according to sources. A spokesperson for a360Media, the company that owns the brand, confirmed that the weekly edition is being discontinued. The company plans to continue publishing special print issues of Soap Opera Digest four times per year.

“Soap Opera Digest, like many other brands, is adjusting its print frequency and shifting more resources to digital to better accommodate its audience,” the a360Media rep said in a statement to Variety.

Soap Opera Digest was first launched in 1975. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp bought the publication in 1989 for $70 million before selling it two years later, per the New York Times, and it has had a succession of different owners ever since.

In its heyday, the magazine had a circulation of 1.5 million in 1991, according to the Times. But the reach of its print edition, as with many magazines, has sharply fallen off in the decades since: For the six months ended June 30, 2023, Soap Opera Digest had an average total paid and verified circulation of 43,743, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

According to its website, Soap Opera Digest is “the leading magazine reporting on the soap opera industry for over 40 years, provides behind-the-scenes scoop and breaking news to passionate soap fans every week.” The mag also has included special editorial features on beauty, fashion, parenting, and health and fitness.

Soap Opera Digest has been available in print and digital subscription plans, priced at $45.97 for six months (26 issues at $1.77 apiece) or $69.97 for one year (52 issues at $1.34 apiece).

A360media houses a media portfolio includes celebrity, entertainment and women’s lifestyle brands including Us Weekly, Star, InTouch and Life & Style. The company claims that it is the largest print publisher in the U.S., both in retail sales and units sold, with its titles representing about one-third of all magazines sold at retail.

A360media was formerly known as American Media Inc., which had been the owner of the National Enquirer (involved in the “catch and kill” scandal involving Donald Trump and which Jeff Bezos accused of an extortion attempt). In 2020, AMI was acquired by Atlanta-based logistics firm accelerate360, which sold off the National Enquirer, Globe and National Examiner tabloids earlier this year.

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