From Time, Inc's own press release about the cancellation of Cottage Living:
Cottage Living, one of a few magazines that some had already marked for closing, launched four years ago with an editorial mission to celebrate unpretentious living. Despite initial skepticism about its name, the title quickly grew, doubling its rate base to 1 million in 2007, gathering industry nods including AdWeek’s 2005 Startup of the Year. However, the magazine remained small in terms of ad pages, which declined 5.1 percent to 514 this year, according to the Mediaweek Monitor.
“Since its inception, Cottage Living attracted significant advertiser support and fostered a loyal following among readers,” Sylvia Auton, an executive VP who oversees Time Inc.’s newly formed Lifestyle Group that includes Cottage Living, said in a statement. “However, the economic downturn has particularly affected the shelter market and while the brand was genuinely loved by readers and advertisers alike, the economy inhibited its ability to grow and therefore, sadly, we had to make the decision to close it.”
I also thought this comment found after The New York Observer's shelter magazine story was pretty astute as to why these type of magazines seem to fail despite their great missions.
googy gomez says:
Here's an editor's position: The problem is that there is a conflict of interest between the readership and the advertising base. Readers want to know how to outfit their pads without spending a small fortune. But the companies who offer these budget products and solutions tend not to have a helluva lot of money to advertise. Walmart, IKEA and Target are in the small group of exceptions, but who wants a home decorated entirely with stuff from big box stores like that, which standardize their product selections to be profitable and, in the process, remove almost every ounce of individual personality to most of that stock? And certainly the smaller stores with great stuff tend not to have the money to advertise--maybe you'll get a quarter page out of them if you're lucky. The people who do have the money are luxury companies like jewelers, car companies, fashion houses, resorts, etc. Ergo the heavy expansion of mags like Domino into fashion. Of course, this latter group of advertisers have huge overheads and want to recoup their money, so they hawk products that cost and arm and a leg. Then editors, in order to retain them, create stories in which they can feature those advertisers, which necessarily means that the stuff they're showing climbs in price. Some publications straddle the line brilliantly (Met Home comes to mind). We need more of that kind of thinking...