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UK lads mags FHM and Zoo to disappear from shelves

Matt Brian, @m4tt

For many young men growing up in the nineties and early noughties, FHM and Zoo were the very definition of "lad culture." Bedroom walls across Britain used to be filled with blu-tacked pages of scantily-clad models, but with sales dwindling, the time of the lads magazine is coming to an end. Bauer Media, owner of both brands, said today that the two men's properties will cease publication at the end of the year.

The company neglected to give a reason for the suspension (not closure), but notes that "men's media habits have continually moved towards mobile and social." However, the real reasons are clear: it's easier to access online nudity than ever before and people tend to consume bite-sized disposable content via viral websites and social networks. UK retailers also actively cover the front pages of men's magazines and, most importantly, people are much more aware of the sexist nature of lad culture the publications feed (FHM's raison d'être was its "100 Sexiest Women in the World" poll, which spanned 21 years).

FHM and Zoo are just the latest in a line of once-popular print magazines to cease publication. Loaded, Front and Bizarre have closed in recent years, while Nuts, which was Zoo's main competition, folded in 2014 after seeing its circulation fall from 300,000 at its peak to 50,000 less than a decade later.

While FHM and Zoo currently have a combined digital audience of over 5 million, The Guardian reports that FHM's circulation fell to less than 67,000 for the first six months of this year (down from 700,000 in 2000) and Zoo sold just over 24,000 copies, a fall from 260,000 at its peak in 2005. Bauer's decision comes just a month after Hugh Hefner's Playboy Magazine confirmed that it will no longer include photos of women fully nude from March 2016, following its website and safe-for-work apps.

[Image credit: jimmyhsu_tw, Flickr]

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