Magazine giant Meredith quietly axes 60 employees – Fixie News
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Magazine giant Meredith quietly axes 60 employees

Media giant Meredith — under pressure to reap cost savings from last year’s $2.8 billion acquisition of Time Inc. — quietly axed about 60 employees, or 1 percent of its workforce, in its magazine division this week.

About half the cuts unveiled on Thursday came from two publications: Entertainment Weekly, which said it was going to cut back to monthly publication, and Traditional Home, which abandoned regular print and fired most of its editorial staff.

Traditional Home publisher Beth McDonough was among those let go, but its chief editor, Jill Waage, will survive — even if most of her staff did not.

Meredith has been taking a wrecking ball to titles in the hearth and home category over the past year. Last September, as part of a wider, 200-person downsizing, the company stopped regular publication of Cooking Light and Coastal Living — but said it would still produce limited, newsstand-only copies.

Doug Olson, president of Meredith Magazines, said Traditional Home will mimic the Coastal Living and Cooking Light formula as its ceases regular subscription publication.

“Like those brands, Traditional Home has a loyal consumer following with a circulation of 850,000… However, advertiser interest is not sufficient to support the production and distribution costs associated with creating and distributing a bi-monthly circulation magazine.”

But even those cutbacks left Meredith with excess capacity.

“We had five subscription magazines in the home category: Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living and Traditional Home,” said a spokesman. “That’s a lot of competition internally for ad dollars, let alone when you consider outside competitors in the space.”

As part of Thursday’s cuts, an insider said that Southern Living and Martha Stewart Living each lost two ad-sales employees.

Meredith also offloaded some of its subscription liabilities from the shut-down Money, selling only the more profitable direct-to-publisher portion of its list to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, now owned by London-based Dennis Publishing.

Although Money was said to have total paid subscriptions of nearly 1.5 million, Kiplinger’s is only boosting its sub-base by 334,000, moving its current level of 582,000 to 920,000.

It suggests the bulk of Money’s subscriptions at the end were coming from less profitable stamp sheets and discounted subs to boost its base.

That works well when advertisers are supporting the title, but becomes a burden when advertising falls off and the publisher still has to pay to print and distribute the magazine. Newsstand-only copies generally command a higher price, and more of the money gets back to the publisher.

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