Time Closes Bureaus, Cuts Staff

NEW YORK Time Inc. revealed it is laying off close to 300 staffers, mostly on the editorial side.

While news of layoffs will continue throughout the day, what is known so far is that Time magazine will close three bureaus: Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta; and People will shut down four bureaus: Miami, Chicago, Washington and Austin, Texas.

The cuts, which represent roughly 3 percent of the company’s total workforce of 10,500, will come through a combination of layoffs and buyout packages being offered to guild members.

A company representative would not disclose details about the positions being cut or how they were distributed throughout the magazines.

Of the 289 staffers, 172 are editorial and the remainder are from the business side. Of the slated editorial cuts, Time Inc. plans for 86 to come from guild volunteers who have been given until mid-February to accept buyout offers. The other 86 have come from layoffs that are being carried out today.

Announcing the cuts in a staff note today, CEO Ann Moore wrote: “While we continue to invest in our core magazines, we are also focused on transforming our workforce and broadening our digital capabilities in order to become a truly multiplatform publisher. We’ve made a lot of progress. Many of our Web sites have matured into strong and popular brand vehicles, while others are relaunching new designs with fresher content. Meanwhile, our magazines continue to be some of the most popular and relevant titles on the newsstand today. But progress brings change and we need to continue to evolve to meet the cost pressures and challenges presented by our rapidly shifting industry.”

Another 500 are expected to leave the company when Time Inc. sells its Time4 Media enthusiast group and its parenting titles, representing 18 of the company’s 250 magazines.

About five bidders are expected to submit final offers, which are due Monday. Some of the magazines have struggled financially, and some private-equity-backed interested parties have dropped out of the bidding process, sources said.

A company rep released a statement regarding the cuts this morning: “Today, Time Inc. announced layoffs in several business areas on both the editorial and publishing sides of a number of titles. These layoffs are part of the necessary restructuring of our business as we continue to transform into a multiplatform publisher and our focus on increasing efficiencies and allowing for closer collaboration between our digital and print businesses.”

Today’s layoffs will be the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures at the beleaguered publisher amid a decline in print ad revenue and competition from the Internet. The week before Christmas, the company laid off 27 people in its corporate consumer-marketing unit, bringing to 577 the number the company has shed in the past year. An additional 500 will leave following the sale of Time4 Media properties.

This story updates an item posted earlier today with more details on the layoffs.