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Industry Standard to Shut Down

The magazine’s parent company, San Francisco-based Standard Media International, announced Thursday publication of the three-year-old The Industry Standardweekly magazine would halt immediately.

“We’re very disappointed that our short-term financial situation requires this, but we remain hopeful that our assets will be sold,” the company said in a statement.

A handful of staffers will be kept on to run a scaled-down version of its Web site, TheStandard.com, but editor-in-chief Jonathan Weber told The Washington Post most of the remaining 190 employees will be told they’re out of work on Monday.

Employees were told to go on a mandatory paid vacation this week, Weber said. Those that are laid off will not receive severance pay, but will be allowed to keep their laptop computers and mobile phones.

Once an advertising powerhouse, The Standard set a publishing industry record in 2000 by printing 7,558 pages of ads that cost an average of $12,000 each.

The magazine was estimated in January 2000 to be worth $200 million. It made $140 million in 2000 alone.

But when the Internet industry machine started losing steam and failing dot-com businesses no longer had the cash to buy ads, The Standard saw its revenues decrease as well.

According to Advertising Age magazine, The Standard‘s ad pages were down more than 75 percent for the first six months of this year.

An initial public offering of the company’s stock was postponed and finally canceled. The Wall Street Journal reported The Standard‘s lease commitments alone topped $60 million.

“When the bottom fell out of the market, it left us with a cost structure we could not support, even under the smaller version of what we were doing,” Weber told the Post. “We provided some really great journalism. I’m proud of that.”

Company officials say they will continue to search for a buyer and could resuscitate the magazine should its financial picture improve.

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