VNU Cuts Staff At Advertising, Media Trade Titles

In a development emblematic of the industries it covers - advertising and media - VNU Business Publications Wednesday announced a 5% reduction in its editorial staff, including the dismissal of the top editors of Mediaweek magazine and its sister online edition. Five of the unit's 100 editorial staffers were impacted by the cutback, including a reporter and a copy editor at flagship Adweek magazine.

The staff reductions follow an announcement earlier this week that VNU's venerable Editor & Publisher magazine would become a monthly after more than a century as the weekly bible of the newspaper industry.

E&P insiders said the printed magazine would essentially forgo breaking news in favor of its online edition, following a strategy established by Adweek. Sid Holt, editorial director of the VNU unit, said no changes were planned for Mediaweek's editorial mix.

As part of the move, Michael Burgi was named editor of Mediaweek from executive editor. He succeeds Brian Moran, who was let go along with online editor Richard Brunelli.

The timing of the move is surprising, because the B-to-B advertising marketplace finally appears to be turning the corner after two years of downturns. While discrete data on the advertising trade press is not broken out by industry sources, there has been a growing sense that ad trade spending also was picking up.

The move also comes as VNU rival Crain Communications, publisher of Advertising Age and Television Week magazines, is said to be looking to expand its market position.

VNU's stock recently took a tumble following news that the American Association of Advertising Agencies has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate certain business practices of VNU's highly profitable Nielsen Media Research unit that the ad association said might be anticompetitive.

MediaPost Communications, publisher of MediaDailyNews, competes with both Crain and VNU.

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