Britain’s QP magazine and its accompanying annual luxury watch show SalonQP have been closed by Hearst, which bought the brand from Telegraph Media Group — one of the UK’s largest newspaper groups — at the beginning of 2018.
Advertisers, subscribers and potential exhibitors at this year’s SalonQP, an event for watch lovers due to be held in London later this year, were informed this morning.
A statement from Hearst sent to WatchPro says: “After careful consideration, we’re proposing to close QP which would mean the final issue would go on sale on March 19. We have reached this proposal because we believe we have reached the point where it is no longer commercially viable to continue producing the specialist QP brand.
James Wildman, CEO, Hearst UK and president of Hearst Europe, adds: “We continue to grow audience across a number of our titles but, despite our utmost efforts, we have reached the point where we believe it is no longer commercially viable to carry on producing the specialist QP brand. We have therefore decided that the best course of action is to propose to close the brand. Watch content will remain a core part of Hearst’s luxury brand offering and we will continue to work proactively with the watch industry.
“This proposal is no reflection on the talented people working on the title and I’d like to thank them for their relentless efforts and hard work. We have now entered a two-week consultation period with the small number of people affected and will ensure they are supported with the greatest care throughout the process.”
QP is just the latest magazine to suffer from dwindling advertising from a watch industry increasingly looking to speak directly to its customers through social media and other digital channels.
Rival magazine Revolution has closed its Swiss title and reduced the number of print editions in the UK to four per year.
Meanwhile Hodinkee is visited by around two million people per month, world-wide, according to measurement company Similarweb.
QP was launched by James Gurney, who remained with the brand while it was owned by Telegraph Media Group, but stepped away when it was sold to Hearst and now runs his own consultancy.
In its heyday, Mr Gurney and fellow QP writer Tim Barber were recognised for their influence in the British watch industry by making the WatchPro Hot 100 list in 2014 (pictured top).
The magazine failed to get the investment and attention it needed to transition to cross platform print, digital and event platform while at the Telegraph and, according to Mr Gurney, Hearst also failed to realize its full potential.
“So Hearst is giving up on QP having failed to spot the opportunity it represented,” Mr Gurney wrote on LinkedIn this morning. “Having parted ways with SalonQP last year, I didn’t think they had the right approach for many reasons (though I would say that),” he adds.