Mag Bag: Meredith Lays Off Staffers

LadiesH.J-Better-H.G-AMeredith Lays Off Staffers

Meredith Corp. has cut 80 positions from across its portfolio of publications, reducing its staff of 3,400 by about 2.3%. Meredith publishes magazines including Ladies’ Home Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, More, Fitness, Every Day With Rachael Ray, Parents, Family Fun, Traditional Home, Midwest Living and Ser Padres.

The layoffs are part of a continuing repositioning of the company, following a string of acquisitions over the last year with a decidedly digital focus. In January, Meredith acquired online recipes site from The Readers Digest Association in a transaction valued at $175 million. The acquisition of more than doubled the audience of the Meredith Women's Network to around 40 million unique visitors per month, per the company -- and should also double its advertising revenues.



On the print side, in October 2011, the company acquired cooking mag Every Day With Rachael Ray and its related digital properties from RDA. Early this year, it completed the acquisition of Family Fun from Disney Publishing Worldwide. These acquisitions come on top of a series of agency acquisitions that have expanded Meredith's marketing services offerings since 2006.

While Meredith has invested aggressively in new businesses, it faces continuing revenue declines in its core print business. Excluding recent acquisitions, in Meredith's third fiscal quarter advertising revenues at its national media group fell 7%. However, this was offset somewhat by a 10% increase in revenues in its local media (broadcast TV) group.

Fitness Gives Away Free Day at the Gym

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Fitness is launching a “Free-For-All” on May 1, offering readers a Free Day of Fitness in partnership with gyms across the country, including Bally Total Fitness, Crunch, Gold's Gym, Boston Sports Clubs, New York Sports Clubs, Philadelphia Sports Clubs, Washington Sports Clubs, 24 Hour Fitness and select YMCA locations.

Along with free access to gyms across the country, Fitness is also hosting five V.I.P. workout events with celebrity trainers Jackie Warner, Harley Pasternak, Billy Blanks, Jim Karas and Beto Perez. The trainers will be teaching exclusive classes for Fitness readers who respond to calls to action via Facebook and Twitter. The events will be held in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City. 

Burgess To Publisher, Prevention

Rodale Inc. has appointed Lori Burgess publisher of Prevention. Burgess was most recently the publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, which she helped build into a multimedia platform. Before that, she was publisher of OK! Magazine. In her new role, she will lead all print and digital ad sales and marketing efforts for the Prevention brand.

Elvis Costello Performs For Food & Wine Crowd

Food & Wine will entertain its guests with some big-name talent at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo.: Elvis Costello & The Blue Beguilers will headline an evening of music at the Benedict Music Tent to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the event. Food will be served by chefs José Andrés, Mario Batali and Michel Nischan. The event is sponsored by Belvedere Vodka, Gallo Signature Series, Lexus, Fiji Water, and Stella Artois, and some of the proceeds will go to supporting Food & Wine’s Chefs Make Change charitable initiative. Guests will also have the opportunity to make donations of their own throughout the night. Tickets are $350 and will go on sale Friday, April 27 at or 877.900.WINE.

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