A shift at Prevention comes at a time of cost-cutting and reorganization for Rodale.
The health and wellness magazine will debut a completely ad-free print edition starting with the July issue, publisher Rodale Inc. announced today. The move will coincide with a strategic shift in Prevention's editorial focus to address what chairman and CEO Maria Rodale calls an "increasingly complex healthcare landscape," while still maintaining the health and wellness advice that has been the brand's focus for decades.
"We are universally connected by our pursuit of a most precious gift: good health," said Maria Rodale in a prepared statement. "Yet the U.S. healthcare system consistently underperforms when compared to other nations and people continue to search for solutions to finding true health."
The new Prevention will arrive on newsstands June 14 with a cover price of $4.99—up one dollar—with plans to raise its current yearly subscription price of $24.
"With this shift in editorial direction, we are ushering in a new era of health journalism by delivering a magazine that will educate, inform and enable readers to be more in control of their health and wellness," says editorial director Mike Lafavore, who rejoined Rodale last fall. "Unfiltered in its reporting, it will motivate people to better advocate for their health."
The hope is that the new ad-free model—along with the shift to breaking important health news and covering timely, important health topics—will return Prevention to its historical position as an authoritative, impartial voice in the health and wellness community, ostensibly in an effort to boost print circulation numbers that saw steep dropoffs in 2015. The Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) reports that Prevention had an average circulation of 1,874,613 through the first half of last year, down 25 percent from the year before and 36 percent since 2012.
Prevention's 2015 media kit shows a robust audience, with a reach of 8.6 million, overwhelmingly female, and a median HHI of $60,000. The median age was 59 years old, and 64 percent attended college.
The transition in Prevention's business model and focus comes at a time of cost-cutting and reogornization at the Emmaus, PA-based publisher. Then-president Scott Schulman left last fall, shortly after Lafavore's arrival. The company then shut down Running Times as well as its content marketing group, Rodale Grow, before elminating a number of senior-level staffers, including group publisher Chris Lambiase.
The most recent round of layoffs came last week, with 40 more employees dismissed, including Prevention's editor-in-chief, Bruce Kelley. Lafavore will take over Kelley's editorial duties while Rodale seeks a replacement. Kelley joined Prevention just two years ago from ESPN The Magazine, and had aimed to place increased emphasis on the brand's digital offerings during his tenure.
The change will not be extended to Prevention's ad-supported website, but the site will expand its selection of paid content available to Prevention's subscribers beginning in June. The site reached 7.5 million unique visitors in December, says Rodale, and has seen its mobile audience more than double since last year, according to the latest Magazine Media 360º report.