McKinsey’s Back at Time Inc.

Consultants' past work resulted in massive cuts

They’re baaack. Bain & Co. may have left the building, but the consultants—the mere mention of which causes tremors about layoffs—aren’t done at Time Inc. Seems CEO Laura Lang is working with McKinsey & Company now. McKinsey has a reputation for giving management justification to make cost cuts; the firm was at the publishing giant in 2007, and it left the layoffs of some 800 people in its wake.

Lang said Bain’s work wasn’t about cutting staff, although no one seems to believe her. According to insiders, McKinsey isn’t on an efficiency mission either, but is working with the consumer marketing team to identify new ways to mine revenue from consumers—a priority on everyone’s minds these days, given the sorry state of the print ad market.

It’s certainly on Lang’s. As she wrote in a recent email to employees, “We must take a disciplined approach to paid content. … We will stop giving away so much of our content for free. We will use our data to become better marketers in the digital world and to launch new data-driven consumer products. And we will reinvent what it means to be a subscriber.”