XXL Magazine to Print Quarterly Issues

Courtesy of XXL
Kendrick Lamar on the cover of XXL's Winter 2014 issue.

Townsquare Media has signaled that XXL Magazine, which it acquired earlier this year, will now publish print editions on a quarterly basis. Following its just-released winter issue, with Kendrick Lamar on the cover, the hip-hop magazine will return in March, followed by its annual Freshman issue in June.

Bill Wilson, Townsquare's chief content officer, points to the Kendrick issue as proof that "print plays a valuable role to the XXL audience and thus to the brand" as well as the mag's new owner, "as we are focused on building premium best in class brands."

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The Greenwich, Conn.-based company purchased XXL, men's magazine King and lifestyle website Antenna from Harris Publications in September. At the time it was believed XXL's print version would be shuddered, but that decision was soon reversed.

Townsquare operates over 311 radio stations in the U.S. and in recent years has built up numerous digital properties, including Taste Of Country, PopCrush, Hype Machine, among others. In 2013 the company purchased The Boot, Noisecreep and other sites from AOL, where Wilson was previously an executive.

Readers of the winter issue may note that XXL has also altered its advertising strategy for print, which has ditched classified and direct response clients in order to focus on premium advertisers.

"Similar to digital experiences, we took the view that the advertisements are a core part of the consumer experience and thus we have to be just as focused on the ad quality as the content quality," Wilson tells Billboard.

Townsquare has also increased its focus on premium video content and daily news reporting on XXL's website.