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Six magazine titles formerly owned by Meredith Corp. will end the publication of print issues, DotDash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel told staff Wednesday. Impacted titles include Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Health, EatingWell and Parents. As part of the cuts, the company plans to eliminate 200 jobs, mostly supporting the print operations.
Some of the other former Meredith brands will keep their print runs for now, including People magazine and Food & Wine.
“We have said from the beginning, buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites. It is not news to anyone that there has been a pronounced shift in readership and advertising from print to digital, and as a result, for a few important brands, print is no longer serving the brand’s core purpose,” Vogel wrote. “As such, we are going to move to a digital-only future for these brands, which will help us to unlock their full potential.”
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Meredith Union commented on the nine members of its staff who were laid off. “The company conducted the layoffs in a rushed and disrespectful fashion unbefitting of the long and dedicated service the workers provided to the publication,” the statement read, in-part. Meredith Union further noted that it is unclear “there was any good reason” for the layoffs at all. “Dotdash Meredith has the resources to keep these people employed or pay them a fair severance,” they added, noting that IAC recorded hundreds of millions in profit in 2021. “None of the journalism that makes Neil Vogel proud would be possible without our and our coworkers’ dedicated labor.”
DotDash, which is owned by Barry Diller’s IAC, acquired Meredith Corp.’s magazine business last year in a $2.7 billion deal. At the time Vogel noted that “DotDash is a digital company, and we have a very different prism on how we view publishing.”
“Naysayers will interpret this as another nail in print’s coffin. They couldn’t be more wrong — print remains core to Dotdash Meredith,” Vogel added, highlighting the brands that will continue to have print editions.
Read Vogel’s memo to staff, below.
Effective today, we will no longer be printing monthly magazines for EatingWell, Entertainment Weekly, Health, InStyle, Parents, and People en Español. This is an important step in the evolution of Dotdash Meredith, and I want to be clear with everyone about what we are doing and what is ahead.
We have said from the beginning, buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites. It is not news to anyone that there has been a pronounced shift in readership and advertising from print to digital, and as a result, for a few important brands, print is no longer serving the brand’s core purpose. As such, we are going to move to a digital-only future for these brands, which will help us to unlock their full potential. These brands are among our most successful, important, and fastest growing digital properties – the online audience for Parents, InStyle, and EatingWell are each up over 40% year-over-year – and all of these brands have a bright future.
The decision to evolve these brands to digital-only means that some jobs – roughly 200 roles primarily supporting our print operations – will be eliminated. Transitions like this are very difficult, impacting colleagues and friends, some of whom have been with the company for decades. I can’t thank these employees enough for getting these brands to the strong place they are at today. Brand leaders have already notified those impacted, and we are taking great care to help ensure a smooth transition for these employees.
Today’s step is not a cost savings exercise and it is not about capturing synergies or any other acquisition jargon, it is about embracing the inevitable digital future for the affected brands. We are very serious about investing for growth – in 2022 alone we will be investing over $80 million in content across our brands. We currently have over 100 open positions in editorial, engineering, product, design, and ecommerce, some of which we hope to fill with people impacted today.
Naysayers will interpret this as another nail in print’s coffin. They couldn’t be more wrong – print remains core to Dotdash Meredith. From PEOPLE to BHG to Southern Living to WOOD, and all our other beloved print publications, we continue to provide incredible value to readers in print, and we will proudly print over 350 million magazines in 2022. Beginning today, we will be investing in our print-forward brands and products: everything from enhancing paper quality and trim sizes, to ensuring world-class editorial and beautiful photography. We are infusing fresh energy across these print-forward brands in all formats to make sure they can meet both the moment and the needs of their readers in new and innovative ways.
These are difficult decisions but we believe they are the correct decisions. We remain as enthusiastic as ever for the future of our brands and our company.
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