Feb 9, 2022 - Economy

Print editions cut at Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Health

an InStyle magazine edition.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Dotdash Meredith, the digital media company owned by Barry Diller's publicly traded internet holding company IAC, is cutting the print editions to six Meredith titles, including EatingWell, Entertainment Weekly, Health, InStyle, Parents and People en Español, according to a staff memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: IAC acquired roughly two dozen Meredith titles last year as a part of a $2.7 billion acquisition of Meredith's national media group. At the time, Dotdash execs said they aimed to digitize the magazines and make them more lucrative by introducing new growth areas, like e-commerce.

Details: In the memo to staff, Dotdash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel said "the decision to evolve these brands to digital-only means that some jobs — roughly 200 roles primarily supporting our print operations — will be eliminated."

  • Those cuts will amount to less than 5% of the company's total workforce.
  • Vogel made it clear in the memo that the purpose of the cuts was to help digitize and modernize the brands, which he calls "among our most successful, important, and fastest growing digital properties."
  • He also said that in 2022, the company plans to invest over $80 million in content across its brands.

Between the lines: Dotdash has a strong track record in investing in brands to modernize them for the digital era.

  • The company spent more than $45 million to transform the content it inherited via its acquisition of About.com in 2012.

Be smart: One of the magazines that Dotdash Meredith hasn't yet announced changes to so far is People, which is one of the most widely circulated magazines in America, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

What's next: After the cuts, around 19 print magazine titles will remain within the Dotdash Meredith portfolio. A source familiar with the company's plans says it plans to invest in all of its remaining print products by enhancing paper quality, photography and editorial.

Go deeper: Read Vogel's memo 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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