OCTOBER’S SLASHER: Publishers across the industry are taking a closer look at 2015 budgets, following a difficult year marked by the continuation of slumping advertising revenue, declining newsstand sales, stagnant circulation figures, layoffs, cost cutting and consolidation. Industry executives are spending the month of October in closed-door meetings as they look for ways to tighten their belts even more.
The buzz at Time Inc., which went public in June, is that more layoffs are coming as the company continues to try to reorient its business model toward digital innovation. Time Inc. has been embroiled in negotiations with The Newspaper Guild that could eliminate roughly 200 newsroom jobs. The New York Times recently said it would cut 100 newsroom jobs as well, mainly due to a weak print advertising environment and missteps in its digital strategy.
Meredith Corp. shuttered Ladies’ Home Journal earlier this year in order to build on its digital property All Recipes, while at Hearst Magazines, consolidation continues to unfold as publishers, editors and digital staff work on multiple magazines. Recent examples of cost cutting have come in the form of combining the staffs of Woman’s Day and Redbook and appointing Cosmopolitan editor in chief Joanna Coles as editorial director of Seventeen. Cosmo publisher Donna Kalajian Lagani mirrored Coles’ oversight on the business side, heading up publishing for the teen magazine.
At Condé Nast, employees told WWD that budgets would continue to be monitored, and some even speculated that the company plans to cut between 10 percent and 30 percent of the budget across the board. A hiring freeze, which took effect this summer, will persist into 2015, barring extenuating circumstances, an insider offered. This news comes as editors in chief and publishers meet with David Geithner, who was appointed chief financial officer this summer, following a string of changes in Condé’s c-suite. A source said meetings already have begun to take place to address each magazine’s budgetary constraints and that those constraints would vary from title to title. Such meetings will continue to roll out over the next two weeks, sources noted.
Condé Nast declined to comment on the speculation about possible budget cuts.
The publisher, which operates titles such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, made media news this year, when it spun off its struggling Lucky magazine to e-commerce company Beachmint to form The Lucky Group. It also sold Fairchild Fashion Media to Penske Media Corp., apart from Style.com and NowManifest, and consolidated Epicurious and Bon Appétit with Bon App editor Adam Rapoport and publisher Pamela Drucker Mann overseeing both titles.