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Time Inc to lay off 600 employees in revamp

Time Inc to lay off 600 employees in revamp
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First Published: Thu, Oct 30 2008. 12 36 AM IST

Quick reforms: Ann Moore, chairman and chief executive officer of Time Inc. The company will begin layoffs in about two weeks. Stephen Hilger / Bloomberg
Quick reforms: Ann Moore, chairman and chief executive officer of Time Inc. The company will begin layoffs in about two weeks. Stephen Hilger / Bloomberg
Updated: Thu, Oct 30 2008. 12 36 AM IST
The world’s largest magazine company, Time Inc., is set to announce a revamping that will result in job cuts of 6% — at least 600 positions — and a reorganization that could radically alter the culture at the venerable publishing house.
The company plans to reveal the overhaul in a memorandum from Ann S. Moore, Time Inc.’s chairwoman and chief executive, and the layoffs will begin in about two weeks.
No magazines are scheduled to close, but some are likely to be severely cut back. Moore was already planning an overhaul because of the upheavals in print media, but she was forced to speed up those efforts amid the financial crisis and looming recession.
Quick reforms: Ann Moore, chairman and chief executive officer of Time Inc. The company will begin layoffs in about two weeks. Stephen Hilger / Bloomberg
Time Inc.’s 24 magazines in the US and their websites will be organized into three divisions: news, which will include Fortune, Money, Time and the Sports Illustrated; lifestyle titles, which include the Real Simple and the Cottage Living, among others; and style and entertainment, which includes People, InStyle and Entertainment Weekly, which has suffered a severe downturn and is likely to be whittled down under the new structure.
Heads of the news and entertainment units will continue to report to John Huey, the editor in chief of Time Inc. The lifestyle unit, which may be run by Bill Shapiro, who has been development editor, will report to the business side of the company. Martha Nelson, who is editor of the People Group, will head the entertainment division.
Moore declined to be interviewed, but in an article published in The Times of London a little more than two weeks ago she said, “I don’t know if there will be layoffs.”
The company, a division of Time Warner Inc., the media conglomerate that includes CNN, Turner Broadcasting, HBO, AOL and the Warner Brothers movie studio, is facing the twin perils of a shifting media landscape from a severe economic downturn and a loss of readers and advertisers to the Web.
Time Warner is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on 5 November, and will announce how much savings it expects to wring from Time Inc. It may take a charge to its earnings to account for the revamping.
Within Time Warner, where Jeffrey L. Bewkes is nearing his one-year anniversary as chief executive, Time Inc., while profitable, has been a lag on growth. In a conference call with Wall Street analysts in August, Bewkes said both AOL and Time Inc. “are tracking behind our expectations this year”.
Executives said the reorganization was intended partly to allow Time Inc. to focus on its big brands—publications such as the Sports Illustrated, People, Time and Fortune—on platforms other than print. Examples executives cited were Sports Illustrated-branded kiosks that are popping up in airports and a music festival that was put on by Essence.
Power within Time Inc., which through many mergers over the decades became the modern Time Warner, has long been diffuse, with individual publishers and editors essentially running their own shows. That distinct culture is coming to an end.
Dawn Bridges, senior vice-president for corporate communications at Time Inc., said that, in the future, “we’ll have a more centralized management structure that will group together titles that share similar audiences, advertisers and the talents and skills of their staffs”.
The changes will lead to more sharing of writers between magazines within each new division.
Even after previous cuts, the company still has 10,200 employees globally, with about 7,000 in the US. (In addition to its well-known American publications, Time Inc. owns nearly 100 magazines abroad.)
© 2008/The New York Times
David Carr contributed to this story.
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First Published: Thu, Oct 30 2008. 12 36 AM IST