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SpongeBob's still a hit on the screen but a dud on the newsstand

June 3, 2009 |  6:25 pm

NICKMAG Even SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer are getting squeezed by the economy.

Viacom is shutting down Nickelodeon Magazine this week and will lay off about 30 staffers. Launched in 1993, the magazine, with a circulation of more than 1 million and a total audience of more than 6 million, was for many years an important promotional platform for the children's cable network and provided a steady stream of cash. The magazine even once was a National Magazine Award finalist and also led to a few spin-off products.

But like other magazines, Nickelodeon has suffered from the double whammy of more of its audience going to the Internet (darn those early adapters) and a prolonged advertising slump. Although the cable network remains dominant, the value the magazine provided as a marketing tool for it had faded over the last few years.

So remember, next time you take your kids to the doctor's office, bring reading material with you.

-- Joe Flint

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