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Big Day for Layoffs… Less Ads for Martha Stewart Omnimedia…

Time Inc., The McGraw-Hill Cos. and Wenner Media LLC all revealed layoffs... Wenda Harris Millard predicted ad revenue in publishing would be down...

BIG DAY FOR LAYOFFS: Time Inc., The McGraw-Hill Cos. and Wenner Media LLC all revealed layoffs on Tuesday as the publishing industry moves to cope with the economic downturn. The biggest changes were at Time Inc., which unveiled a major restructuring across its magazines, organizing its 24 U.S. titles into three groups and assigning several executives to oversee the business and editorial operations. The changes, first reported on The New York Times Web site, are expected to result in about 600 job cuts, with layoffs beginning in a few weeks. A spokeswoman did not confirm the number of positions to be eliminated, but said no magazines will close as a result of the new structure.

Time Inc. chief executive officer Ann Moore issued a memo outlining the changes Tuesday night. “This is a challenge, unlike any we’ve seen before. And after much careful study and consultation with many of you who run our businesses, I have concluded that it is no longer possible to operate our company with the same decentralized management structure that served us so well during our many years of sustained growth,” she wrote.

This story first appeared in the October 29, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Effective tomorrow, we are going to implement a much more centralized management structure, organized into three business units that will group together titles that share similar audiences, advertisers and the talents and skills of their staffs. The goal is to enable our company to move faster, go to market smarter, save significant costs and employ our editorial resources more efficiently,” the memo said.

The magazines and related Web properties will be organized into three categories, with resources to be shared across titles: news, which will include, Fortune, Time, Sports Illustrated and Life; style and entertainment, consisting of People, In Style, Entertainment Weekly and Essence, and lifestyle, made up of Real Simple, This Old House, All You, Southern Living, Cooking Light, Sunset, Health, Cottage Living, Coastal Living and Southern Accents, along with MyRecipes.com and MyHomeIdeas.com. On the editorial side, Martha Nelson will head the style and entertainment division, and though it has not been revealed, former Life managing editor Bill Shapiro could lead the lifestyle group. The managing editors of the news business unit and Nelson will report to John Huey, Time Inc.’s editor in chief.

On the business side, the news section will report to John Squires; executive vice president and IPC Media chief Sylvia Auton will manage the lifestyle unit. Style and entertainment will report to Moore. In addition, Moore said Time Inc. will create a new corporate sales division, Time ad sales and marketing, to be headed by Stephanie George.

Meanwhile, Wenner Media, the publisher of Rolling Stone, Us Weekly and Men’s Journal, laid off about a half dozen staffers this week, most of them in the corporate marketing department, reported mediaweek.com. Wenner Media has faced challenges particularly at Rolling Stone, where the magazine recently trimmed its oversize format to standard size this month as paper and printing costs have risen. According to Media Industry Newsletter, pages at Rolling Stone have fallen nearly 20 percent, to 883 through mid-October. “Given the current economic environment, we are looking at better efficiencies across the entire company,” a Wenner spokesman said.

At McGraw-Hill, the publisher said Tuesday that it had eliminated 270 jobs during the third quarter, including 140 in its information and media division, which includes BusinessWeek. Advertising pages for the magazine’s global edition dropped 13.9 percent during the quarter, and revenues rose 5.4 percent to $240.7 million. — Stephanie D. Smith and Amy Wicks

 

HITTING THE TARGET: Back in July, Wenda Harris Millard predicted ad revenue in publishing at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia would be down in the midteens for the third quarter. On Tuesday, her prediction proved to be basically right on the money as the company reported that ad revenue declined 18 percent. Millard, president of media and co-chief executive officer, told analysts during Tuesday’s earnings call that ad revenue for the fourth quarter will likely be down in the high teens. Despite — or because of — the tough ad climate, the company is planning rate base increases next year for Martha Stewart Living to 2,025,000 from 1.9 million. Everyday Food will increase to 1 million from 900,000 and Body + Soul is raising its base to 600,000 from 550,000. MSLO narrowed its net loss to $3.7 million from $4.4 million during the third quarter, and total revenue was down 4.2 percent to $66.5 million from $69.2 million. Meanwhile, it remains on the acquisitions trail: Executives revealed an equity stake in Pingg Corp., an online event management site that offers invitations and event-planning tools, as part of its strategy to grow its digital business. Internet ad revenue was a bright spot during the third quarter, up 35 percent to $3 million, and page views increased 57 percent. The merchandising and broadcasting divisions were keys for the company during the period, although Robin Marino, president of merchandising and co-ceo, confirmed MSLO’s agreement with Kmart will end in 2010 and there are no plans to renew it. The firm instead is relying on its new deal with Macy’s Inc. — A.W.

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