May 13, 2020 - Economy

Condé Nast to lay off 100 U.S. staffers

Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images

Condé Nast, the media publisher known for its high-end magazine products like Wired, Vogue, The New Yorker, GQ, Glamour, Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair and more, said Wednesday that it plans to lay off 100 U.S. employees and furlough about 100 more.

Why it matters: It's the latest media company forced to take drastic measures to survive the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Magazine publishers in particular have been hit hard, as their businesses were vulnerable to sweeping changes for years prior to the pandemic.

Details: In a note to staff, CEO Roger Lynch, a former Pandora radio and and Sling TV executive, said, "These decisions are never easy, and not something I ever take lightly. I want to be transparent about the principles and approach we used."

  • Lynch said the company tried to identify specific areas where it could "bring down our costs without limiting our growth priorities."
  • He said the company is providing severance packages "to help provide a bridge to people’s next roles" as well as job placement resources. The company will cover the full cost of healthcare premiums for furloughed employees.
  • Lynch also noted that with the job cuts, there will also be a handful of people with reduced work schedules.

Between the lines: The news doesn't come as a total shock. In April, the New York Times reported that Condé was considering significant cost-cutting measures to prepared itself for the crisis.

  • Magazine companies have been particularly vulnerable to downturns in the advertising market. Legacy print magazines, which often focus on high-end retail and consumer goods, like fashion, are expected to lose millions in ad revenue throughout the pandemic.

Be smart: For flashy magazine publishers that are used to the decades-old glitz and glam publishing culture, the digital revolution coupled with the global pandemic has become a bit of a shock.

  • Other magazines, like The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Fortune, and magazine conglomerate Meredith have also begun to take serious cost-cutting measures, including layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs.

The bottom line: The trends that were hitting the glossy magazine publishing business have been accelerated by the pandemic, and it's unclear whether the industry will ever be able to return to its days of high-end travel and grandeur.

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