Media Lifeline: Changes at IPC

An unlikely saviour could be riding to the rescue of IPC's Loaded, the original lads' mag.

November 2009: Eric Fuller, the managing director of IPC Ignite, is the highest-profile casualty in a company-wide restructuring programme that sees a "limited number" of other redundancies. IPC Ignite, home to Loaded and Nuts, and IPC TX, which houses TV-related brands, are to be disbanded and their titles integrated into a new corporate structure with three divisions targeting men, mass-market women and upmarket women respectively.

April 2010: Now IPC announces a review of its specialist magazine portfolio, which boasts more than 80 titles including Cage & Aviary Birds. "This review may lead us to conclude that we sell some of our smaller titles," IPC's chief executive, Evelyn Webster, says.

August 2010: But not before she reveals she's about to take part in a quick game of musical chairs. Sylvia Auton, Webster's predecessor before being promoted in 2008 to a senior US role at IPC's parent company, Time Inc, is to return to her former role. Webster is to head the other way, becoming the executive vice-president of Time Inc's Lifestyle Division. The changeover is scheduled to take place at the start of 2011.

August 2010: And within days of this bombshell, the company admits that it has been discussing the sale of one of its flagship titles Loaded to Vitality Publishing, an outfit perhaps best known for its gay lifestyle magazine Attitude. It's a sign of the times in more ways than one. Loaded, the original lads' mag, has been in long-term decline, with its circulation dipping below 60,000 in the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulations figures.

September 2010: Loaded's editor, Martin Daubney, steps down - widely interpreted as a move made to facilitate the sale. "Being editor of Loaded has been a blast. But for me, the time seems right to move on and let someone else take over the reins," he says.

Fast forward ...

January 2011: Now the reason for Auton's return becomes clear. In her first official week back at IPC, she puts a "for sale" sign up above the door. Other publishers are keen to look at the IPC portfolio and the first deal sees Cage & Aviary Birds eventually snapped up by Kelsey Publishing, the owner of Practical Poultry magazine.