After nearly 50 years in print, Soap Opera Digest will discontinue its weekly edition, the publication’s owner, a360media, announced in a statement released late Friday, October 27, to Variety shortly after staffers were informed of the company’s decision.
A representative told the outlet, “Soap Opera Digest, like many other brands, is adjusting its print frequency and shifting more resources to digital to better accommodate its audience.”
According to Variety, the magazine will continue publishing special print issues at least four times a year going forward. No formal announcement on when the magazine will print its final weekly issue, nor if any staff reductions have been made behind the scenes.
On Monday, October 30, the magazine’s website elaborated on the situation, saying, “We wanted to let you, our loyal readers, know that Soap Opera Digest will be publishing at a reduced frequency moving forward — but we also wanted to assure you that much of the content you’ve come to love in our print edition, including breaking news, exclusive story previews and interviews with your favorite stars, will continue to be available to you online. Please keep following us on social media and at soapoperadigest.com, and thank you for your decades of support!”
Launched in 1975 by founders Angela Shapiro and Jerome Shapiro, Soap Opera Digest had a paid and verified circulation of just 43,743 as of June 30, 2023, according to the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), the “recognized leader in publisher audits across digital, print and out-of-home channels.” By comparison, throughout the 1990s, the magazine had a circulation in excess of one million. By 2010, the number had dropped to just under 500,000 and under 100,000 by 2019.
Out of the 195 publications audited by AAM, there were 30 publications that had not shared their publisher statements. That said, Digest ranked 154th out of 165 publications that did release their figures, only beating out the likes of Elle Quebec, Conquer Magazine, Diabetes Care, Vero and Les Affaires Plus, among others, in terms of circulation totals.
The top 35 selling magazines with a circulation in excess of one million included the likes of People, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, Us Weekly, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Time, New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Men’s Health, Women’s Health and even Elle, among others.
In April 2020, Bauer Media, now owned by a360media, shuttered the print editions of Soaps In Depth, which released weekly issues as either ABC Soaps In Depth or CBS Soaps In Depth. The brand’s name continues as a digital website sharing news and interviews with stars from the four remaining American soap operas – “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Days of our Lives,” “General Hospital” and “The Young and the Restless.”
Following the aforementioned statement on its website, Soap Opera Digest has since removed the tab allowing individuals to subscribe to the magazine.