Time Inc to slash about 300 jobs across print and sales as part of major restructure around video

Time Inc slashes 4% of work force as part of major restructure around video

Time Inc is cutting around 300 jobs in the US and overseas as part of a major restructure that will see the publisher cull investment in print in order to focus on digital media and video.

Time Inc is the US’s largest magazine publisher with over 100 magazines including Time, Marie Claire and NME.

The job cuts and buyouts will be made across print magazines, corporate and sales, with more than half of the employees affected based in the U.S.

It will affect 4% of the company's employees, which numbered about 7,450 at the end of December, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The announcement of the cuts was made to staff by Rich Battista, chief executive of the publisher, in a memo on Tuesday, who called it a “difficult but necessary step” in order to offset declines in print revenue across the business.

“Time Inc is a company in rapid transformation in an industry undergoing dynamic change,” Battista wrote in his note to staff.

"Transformations do take time and patience, but I am encouraged by the demonstrable progress we are making as we implement our strategy in key growth areas, such as video, native advertising and brand extensions, and as we see positive signs of stabilizing our print business, which remains an important part of our company."

Declining print advertising and subscriptions across the industry, as well as the rising cost of print, have forced most publishers to make cuts to staffers and in some cases even close titles in order to pump investment in the lucrative business of digital and video.

While Time Inc.'s digital ad revenue increased 32% in the first quarter ended March 31, this failed to offset the 21% decline in print advertising and other revenue. Altogether, advertising revenue for the quarter fell 8% to $33m. Total revenue for the company declined 8% to $636m.

In an interview with the WSJ, Battista said the restructure was not just about cutting its employee base but becoming more efficient in terms of legacy systems in place.

"We're re-engineering our entire cost structure. We're trying to be as nimble and efficient as possible, and get this process moving,” he told the publisher.

The restructuring comes less than two months after Time Inc.'s board rebuked buyout offers from Iowa-based publishing powerhouse Meredith, and an investor group headed up by Edgar Bronfman Jr.

Time Inc already has begun hiring more staffers growth areas of the business including video, digital products and digital sales, according to the WSJ.

Like many publishers Time Inc has been taking cues from changing consumer habits and shifting its business around video accordingly. In March the publisher launched a video-only food brand, Well Done, and late last year its UK operation launched an in-house TV production arm to act as a new revenue stream.

It’s not the first time the company has implemented aggressive cost-cutting measures; in 2014 it laid off 500 workers, or about 6% of its global staff, followed by some 100 employees in late 2016. Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. was brought in earlier this year to assist with restructuring.

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Jessica Goodfellow

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