Meredith Lays Off Dozens of Staffers

It's the first round of cuts since the Covid-19 pandemic began

Meredith previously cut pay for many staffers to cope with the economic pressures of the pandemic.
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Meredith laid off more than 100 staffers this week, the first round of layoffs at the media company since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In all, the Iowa-based publisher laid off 130 people at its Local Media Group and 50 more from its National Media Group, the portfolio of magazine brands. The layoffs were company-wide and particularly affected teams already dealt a blow by the pandemic in events and ad sales.

The layoffs came amid historic print ad declines that have affected all publishers. In all, print advertising was down 33% in the second quarter of 2020, according to the latest U.S. advertising data from Magna.

These steps were cost-cutting measures due to the revenue losses sustained in the Covid-19 pandemic and represent “a reallocation of resources to higher-growth areas,” according to a Meredith spokesperson.

As other media organizations have gone through rounds of layoffs, or temporarily adjusted salaries to offset costs, Meredith cut pay (which has now been restored) to about 60% of employees, according to previous reports.

“A major component of the media business, especially print, is long-term relationships: experienced sellers dealing with experienced buyers,” said Tim Smith, director of media and communications at IPNY.

“There is an ‘unwritten’ language that connects both sides,” Smith continued. “Both sides know how to work a deal and get a deal done. When publishing companies eliminate highly experienced salespeople, it is very shortsighted. It may save some expense now, but it will take a long time to recover the revenue that will likely be lost.”

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.