Future Publishing and Haymarket to merge rival titles

Future Publishing and Haymarket Consumer Publications have brokered

a deal that will see titles recently axed by each publisher merged into

the other's rival magazine.

The agreement centres on Future gaining the subscriber and masthead

usage rights to Haymarket's suspended web title the net. Issues of

Future's surviving magazine .net will signpost the inclusion of the

Haymarket title in a bid to maximise potential gains in news-stand


The deal hands Haymarket equivalent rights regarding Future's Total

Football, which closed its doors on Friday. Haymarket will have the

option of leveraging its options on the defunct soccer title for the

benefit of its own Four Four Two.

Four Four Two, the market leader in the specialist football publishing

sector, suffered a 6.8 per cent year-on-year drop in the latest ABC

figures, but still managed to outperform a shrinking market.

The net finished as the top ABC performer in the catastrophic web

sector, outperforming the rest of the market. However, a 22.6 per cent

year-on-year and 2.4 per cent period-on-period drop was enough to

persuade Haymarket to pull the plug.

Future's title consequently becomes the sector's official market leader,

with a circulation of 40,161. However, this is likely to change when IPC

Media's Web User, unofficially audited at more than 90,000, publishes

its first ABC figure in February.

"The closure of the net shows that the market is not as easy to break

into as other publishers had believed," .net's publisher, Dave Taylor,