Mediaweek Online just reported that Time Inc. is about to lay off as many as 250 people. The formal announcement is expected one day next week.
This continues a trend of compression in the world of print that has no end in sight. With the explosion of "new media" and the expectations of today's media consumer for instant information, magazine circulations and their advertising revenues have been declining. (There is an excellent report on The State of The News Media that is full of excellent detail on the trends in print media.) The magazines that are surviving are niche magazines, category-leader magazines, and magazines that have fully embraced and been fully embraced online.
Even news magazines now routinely break their stories on their website first rather than waiting for the distribution of their print editions. The staff at most magazines know that the core product moving forward is going to be the distribution of content online branded under the print edition's masthead.
As all media continues to converge, we shall see some media outlets flourish and others flounder. As a media seller, I think it would be a difficult time to be selling print. Selling Newsweek or People Magazine in New York is probably still quite lucrative. However, most magazines are facing more of a challenge.
For example, type Kitchen Remodel Magazine into Google and you get scores of options. The top several spots are for the major print magazines for the Kitchen Remodel industry:
--Kitchen and Bath Design News Magazine
--Kitchen and Bath Business Magazine
Further down the list are a few other print magazines in this category:
--Home Remodeling Cape Cod and The Islands
--This Old House
All of these magazines are going after the same potential advertisers: manufacturers of flooring, faucets, counter tops, sinks, showers, tile, hardware, lighting, etc. These same potential advertisers are being courted by a dozen broadcast and cable outlets like HGTV Network and DIY Network. These are also the same potential sponsors for several major trade shows.
Budgets are stretching thinner and thinner and the second- or third-tier print remodelling magazine is not as easy to sell as it was ten years ago. These magazines get even harder to sell when the magazines are reduced in size and quality, key strategic leadership leaves, sales teams are smaller with larger territories, budgets are slashed, and the editorial offices have more empty desks than occupied ones.
Good luck to those managers that are leaving Time's magazines and the 250 other employees walking around with targets on their backs for the next week. I hope your severance packages allow you enough time to find work somewhere outside of print.