Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Time Inc. Braces for Layoffs This Week

Here comes the news that Time Inc. employees have been dreading for months: Sources say the world’s largest magazine publisher is expected to begin a significant round of layoffs this week.

I don’t have more details about the coming cuts. But the Time Inc. employees I’ve spoken to seem to put great stock in Keith Kelly’s report from earlier this month, which predicted that up to 700 of the publisher’s 8,000 employees may go in this round.

If so, that will eclipse the company’s last big round of layoffs, in 2008, when former CEO Ann Moore cut about 600 jobs. Those layoffs, and subsequent cost-cuts, have allowed Time Inc. to stay profitable as the magazine industry contracts.

But the top line keeps dropping: In the third quarter of last year, Time Inc generated $840 million in revenue, down from $1.1 billion in 2008. Meanwhile, parent company Time Warner has continued to evolve into a cable TV conglomerate.

New CEO Laura Lang has been on the job for a year, and has pushed her company to look for new revenue streams, including digital deals; last year, she brokered an agreement to sell iPad subscriptions via Apple’s iTunes store.

No comment from Time Inc. or parent company Time Warner.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald