Despite fair circulation, ad pages and sales down

NEW YORK — After six years A&E Networks is scaling back Biography — the magazine, that is. Starting in the first quarter of 2004 the monthly magazine that is a sibling to the net’s celeb-profile series will be published quarterly.

In explanation of the pullback, Nick Davatzes, prexy and CEO of A&E Television Networks, said, “We recognize that it is in the best interest of our customers to stay focused on our primary business — television.”

Although Biography was never in the same league as celeb-ogling mags like People — which has a circulation of 3.5 million — it has a fair circulation of 705,000, built up since 1997, when Biography was launched.

In the first half of 2003, however, newsstand sales were down 9% compared with the same period a year ago. Ad pages were down 28% in July compared with July 2002.

New mag will continue to run stories on subjects appearing on the Biography Channel’s namesake series.

Paulette McLeod will continue as editor of Biography.

A&E is owned by Disney, Hearst and NBC.

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