The Sliceman Cometh: Time Inc. Cuts 289

Time Inc. outdid the most pessimistic industry predictions in its most recent round of layoffs, handing out pink slips to 289 staff members around the country on Thursday. Layoffs hit both the editorial and business sides of the company--but fell hardest on editorial, which lost 170 staffers, including many from the big-name titles that anchor the company's fame.

People, the company's single biggest print property, lost 44 staffers and closed four city bureaus in Washington, Chicago, Miami and Austin. Time Inc. lost 50 staffers, including layoffs in its Washington bureau and the closure of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta bureaus.

In a memo to staff, Ann Moore, chairman and CEO of Time Inc., explained the layoffs: "While we continue to invest in our core magazines, we are also focused on transforming our work force and broadening our digital capabilities in order to become a truly multiplatform publisher."

Although a spokesperson did not provide specific numbers for digital hires, she said the company has been steadily hiring to expand its multiplatform operations over the last year, and expects to continue hiring in 2007.

In fact, some new hires were lost in the layoff report: People got seven new hires, although it wasn't clear what their roles will be. The spokesperson said new hires in both sales and editorial are expected to be flexible, moving smoothly between print and digital responsibilities.

Meanwhile, a slew of Time Inc. business publications also picked up new staffers. Fortune hired Steven Koepp as executive editor, Jerry Useem as senior editor-at-large, Susan Z. Callaway as a columnist, David Whitford as an editor-at-large and Jennifer Reingold as a senior writer. Money magazine hired Marlys Harris as a senior editor, Jennifer Merritt as special projects editor, April Bell as associate art director, and Asa Fitch as a staff reporter. Finally, Business 2.0 hired Evelyn Nussbaum as a senior editor.

This marks the third straight year of contraction at Time Inc. In 2006, Time Inc. laid off 577 employees, foreshadowing more shrinkage with the planned sale of special-interest titles in the Time4Media group, which employs about 500 people. In 2005, the company laid off 105 employees.

Overall, Time Inc.'s titles suffered a 4.8% drop in ad pages in 2006, compared to 2005, with some of its most important properties stagnant or in decline. Eponymous flagship title Time was hanging tough at the end of 2006, with 0.8% growth in ad pages, compared to 2005--finishing up at 2,311.

People sank 2.9% to 3,741, Sports Illustrated dropped 3.5% to 2031, Fortune was down 6.4% to 2,875, Entertainment Weekly slid 7.6%, and Money tumbled 9.6%. Time's special-interest magazines--including many Time4Media and Parenting titles for sale since September 2006--are faring worse. Golf magazine's ad pages declined 7.3%, Field & Stream pages dropped 13.3%, and Outdoor Life's were down 14.9%.

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