Lloyd Webber offloads Theatregoer magazine

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stab at magazine publishing has ended after his Really Useful Company today sold its Theatregoer title to Bandwidth Communications, publisher of Whatsonstage.com, for an undisclosed fee.

The swift end to the short-lived venture for Lloyd Webber, who launched the title with the help of his wife Madeleine Lloyd Webber in 2000, comes despite a steady growth in circulation to around 80,000 copies per issue.

Bandwidth Communications said the magazine and its existing Whatsonstage.com website would be merged to create “a theatrical media company with unparalleled reach in both print and online”, although both outfits will retain their own brand identities.

The magazine’s circulation is concentrated primarily – around 55,000 copies – in London’s West End theatres, with another 25,000 copies distributed to four and five star hotels.

Madeleine Lloyd Webber said: “I launched Theatregoer in October 2000 for two main reasons. First, to improve the value and quality of theatre programmes in the West End - which, I’m pleased to note, has now come to pass.

“And second, simply because there was no major print magazine dedicated to theatre. I’ve always thought of Whatsonstage.com as providing an ideal online fit in terms of both informing audiences and supporting the theatre industry so I’m delighted now to see the two titles brought together in this merger.”

Bandwidth Communications bought Whatsonstage.com from Emap in 2000, which originally launched the site in 1996.

David Dobson, managing director of Bandwidth Communications, added: “About the time we took over Whatsonstage.com, Really Useful Group was launching Theatregoer.

“In the intervening years, both have grown and developed into very strong, focussed businesses.

“It’s wonderful, and it seems exactly the right moment, to now combine the two into an even more powerful whole that reaches more theatregoers per month than any other media company.”

By Kevin May