‘Major’ Layoffs at Time Inc.’s Southern Progress Magazines

southernlivingII.jpgFishbowlNY has confirmation that layoffs one tipster calls “major” have hit Southern Progress Corporation, the Time Inc. subsidiary that publishes Southern Living, Cooking Light, Health, Southern Accents, Cottage Living, and Coastal Living, among others. As Southern Progress spokeswoman Laura Hardin told FishbowlNY today, “Of course we’re sad to be losing good people. It was an unfortunate but necessary decision based on challenging economic conditions in our industry.”

Hardin declined to specify how many employees have been affected or which titles lost staff, saying only that “several business and edit positions were affected.” Birmingham Weekly, which shares a hometown with Southern Progress’ Alabama headquarters, reported yesterday that the Time Inc. division “laid off as many as 30 employees.”

Though they corroborate what media reporter Keith Kelly’s been hearing about a “new round of layoffs” for Time Inc., cuts at Southern Progress might seem to be at odds with the “top structural initiatives” recently outlined by Time Warner CEO and president Jeff Bewkes in his most recent financial results report when he said the company would be “increasingly focus[ing] on our goal to create and manage high-quality branded content, across multiple platforms around the world, at the highest returns possible for our stockholders.” At the same time, signs were there…

Time Warner’s report also noted that publishing revenues from Time Inc are down 6 percent ($77 million) for the first six months of this year despite a slight increase in subscriptions and online advertising revenues from People.com, Time.com, and CNNMoney.com. “Reduced domestic print magazine revenues” and “lower sales at… Southern Living at Home” were specifically cited as causes contributing to Time Inc.’s lackluster performance in the first half of this year.

There have already been several high-profile staff shakeups at Southern Progress this month. Last week, the company announced that Eleanor Griffin would take over for John A. Floyd Jr. as editor-in-chief of Southern Living after Floyd “announced his intention to retire at the end of the year after 18 years as editor-in chief and 31 years with the company.” On Tuesday, Stack Media, a company dedicated to covering prep school sports, announced that it had recruited Karen Scott, who’d previously been sales director of Southern Progress’ SPC Digital.

Have further info on affected titles and employees? Let us know

Hunter Walker

(Disclosure: This writer also contributes to DigitalCity.com, which is owned by AOL/Time Warner.)