Variety Editors, Reporters Dodge First Round of Penske Layoffs

The timing – right before Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday season – is tough for all involved. But per an internal message circulated today by Jay Penske, it’s the official ground-level beginning of a new era at trade publication Variety. And perhaps not the last of such cost-cutting measures:

Dear Team,

For the past six months, we have diligently reviewed every aspect of the Variety business. And in more recent weeks, we have outlined to Variety senior management an exciting and also aggressive trajectory for the brand’s resurgence. These steps will include substantial further investment in editorial and digital, but will unfortunately require some immediate eliminations in the following business units: LA411/NY411, Circ, Systems, Conferences, and Admin.

Without a doubt, this is a challenging day, and I particularly wanted to notify and acknowledge those of you who will be saying goodbye to valued colleagues and friends. As we look ahead, Variety’s business holds almost limitless potential and I will remain available to answer any questions you might have regarding today’s changes and our future. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or see Tammy Chase to arrange an appointment.

Jay Penske
Variety Media, LLC

Ben Fritz at the LA Times pegs the number of layoffs at just under 20, or 12% of the overall staff of 165. According to one of his sources, Penske has also been meeting with Hollywood subscribers to gauge how the publication’s content is currently consumed and what sort of revised print edition schedule might make the most sense moving forward.