THE TIME FINALLY COMES: Six percent of Time Inc.’s 8,000-employee workforce, or nearly 500 positions, will be eliminated as part of another round of downsizing at the country’s largest magazine publisher, chief executive officer Laura Lang said Wednesday morning in an internal e-mail.
“With the significant and ongoing changes in our industry, we must continue to transform our company into one that’s leaner, more nimble and more innately multiplatform,” Lang wrote.
All divisions of Time Inc., both domestic and international locations, are affected. Individually, People and Time magazines, the publisher’s signature weeklies, are asking for under 10 buyouts each, according to memos sent out by their respective managing editors, Larry Hackett and Rick Stengel. If volunteers don’t step up, the editors will be forced to lay off people.
The layoffs are the largest at Time Inc. since 2008, when about 600 positions were eliminated.
The note from Lang culminated months of uncertainty at Time. The possibility of layoffs has been hanging over the company since March, when Bain & Co. was brought in to find savings across the board. Lang was appointed over a year ago, in November 2011. Her tenure has been mixed — though she can be credited with introducing a new advertising product, Amplify; it has not taken off as expected. Revenues declined 6 percent in the last quarter due to advertising losses and circulation declines and the company was hit by the departure of prominent veterans, including former editor in chief John Huey and Terry McDonell, the editor of the sports group, which includes Sports Illustrated. Martha Nelson succeeded Huey.
Since March, leaks about the imminent layoffs trickled out, but Time Inc. prolonged the internal anxiety by holding off on confirming news until it was closer to its fourth-quarter earnings call, which is set for Wednesday.
In her note, Lang tried some spin by saying the layoffs, which amount to about 480 heads altogether, will help “create room for critical investments and new initiatives.”