Singapore edition of racy women's magazine Cosmopolitan to close after four years

The October issue of Cosmopolitan Singapore will be its last.
The October issue of Cosmopolitan Singapore will be its last. PHOTOS: COSMOPOLITAN SG / FACEBOOK

The Singapore version of the racy women's monthly Cosmopolitan, which was launched here after a longstanding ban by the authorities, is closing down.

The October issue of Cosmopolitan Singapore will be its last, and it will be released in September. The August issue is currently in newstands.

A spokesman for SPHM, which publishes the title, said today: "Cosmopolitan Singapore was launched four years ago in a crowded lifestyle market. As a business model the magazine is not sustainable."

SPHM is part of SPH Magazines which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of media organisation Singapore Press Holdings Limited.

According to the Nielsen Media Index 2014, Cosmpolitan Singapore's readership stood at 22,000.

In 2011, the launch of the local version of the magazine, which is known for its sex guides and adult content, was seen as a milestone in the loosening of censorship rules here.

This was because the international title had been prohibited in Singapore since 1982 because of its extreme liberal values, but the Government lifted the ban nearly 20 years later due to suggestions from the Censorship Review Committee. The international version was available on shelves from 2004, but under a shrinkwrap to prevent browsing.

The local version of the glossy was launched in 2011, targetting single, professional women with high disposable incomes, and between the ages of 22 and 35.

Besides sex, the other topics covered by the monthly included self-improvement, career and financial management, as well as lifestyle, fashion and beauty stories.

The magazine is available in a digital version, and has its own website.

It is also active on social media. On last count, it has almost 24,000 followers on its blog, more than 9,000 "Likes" on its Facebook page, and around 7,000 followers on its Instagram account.

Ms Diana Ong, a public relations director and avid reader of the magazine, says the monthly's departure will "affect the vibrancy of our media scene".

"I will miss the magazine. Cosmopolitan was a great read that gave us empowering real-women stories, the latest fashion and beauty news, as well as sexy advice and tongue-in-cheek instructions on 'handling his bits the right way'," she says.

"Yet maybe because of the publishing guidelines in Singapore, it never went as far as its overseas counterparts."

Cosmopolitan Singapore is published under license from Hearst Magazines International.

SPHM will continue to work with Hearst Magazines International on Harper's Bazaar Singapore.

"As the leading publisher in Singapore and the region, SPH Magazines and SPHM will consolidate and refocus its stable of women's magazines under the fashion and beauty genre," adds the company spokesman. All permanent staff will be redeployed within the company.

Titles in the SPH Magazines and SPHM portfolio include Her World, Female, Singapore Women's Weekly, Cleo, Simply Her, Nuyou, The Finder and Shape.

gladysc@sph.com.sg