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As Publishers Continue to Consolidate, Hearst Combines Editorial Teams at Multiple Titles

Starting in January, the media giant will combine the beauty, fashion and entertainment departments at print titles Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Redbook, Woman's Day and Good Housekeeping.
Hearst Tower | Source: Shutterstock
By
  • Chantal Fernandez

NEW YORK, United States — In search of greater cost efficiencies, leading publishers Condé Nast, Hearst and Time Inc have been restructuring groups across several of their print titles in order to survive in an increasingly digital world.

Now, Hearst will combine the beauty, fashion and entertainment departments at print titles Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Redbook, Woman's Day and Good Housekeeping, BoF has learned. The changes will take effect starting in January. It is unclear if similar shifts are forthcoming at other titles.

“We have long believed that collaboration is the key to ongoing creativity and innovation, and we’ve seen its success in action over the past four years,” said a spokesperson for Hearst in response to a request for comment. “Brands refine their individual points-of-view, and dynamic editors expand their skills and talent to the benefit of all.”

Time Inc implemented a similar strategy over the summer, grouping its titles into four thematic categories, each with its editorial director (Jess Cagle, the editor of People, runs the celebrity, entertainment and style group). Simultaneously, traditional publishers were eliminated and replaced by revenue leaders of new groups formed around advertising categories.

At Condé Nast, the most recent slew of changes kicked off in October when chief executive Bob Sauerberg announced a sweeping company-wide reorganisation, creating five new groups roughly categorised as business, editorial, research, technology and creative. Some employees will remain dedicated to one brand, while many others will float across multiple brands, depending on their role.

Of course, greater sharing of resources is only one way to cut cost. On Thursday, Condé Nast shuttered the print operations at Self magazine, and executive digital director Carolyn Kylstra replaced editor-in-chief Joyce Chang at what is now a digital-only brand. Other editorial job cuts across the company included the departure of W magazine’s Jane Larkworthy, who had served as the magazine’s beauty director since 2000. She will not be replaced, and sources say other roles were cut from the magazine, as well as at Brides.

Clearly, Condé Nast’s initial attempts to streamline Self’s print business were not sufficient. Over the course of the last ten months, the company integrated Glamour and Self's advertising teams under the leadership of Glamour publisher Connie Anne Phillips and combined both magazine’s copy, research, social media and production teams. These changes resulted in staff cuts.

Similarly, Teen Vogue’s advertising team was merged into Vogue’s in 2015. But in November, shortly after the appointed of Jim Norton, chief business officer and president of revenue, Condé Nast pivoted its approach to the teen title. A new publisher was appointed, and starting in the spring of 2017, the magazine will adopt a quarterly print publishing schedule.

But how far can cost-cutting consolidation measures take these struggling entities? Tellingly, in its communication about the changes at both Self and Teen Vogue, Condé Nast emphasised increased digital investment, which is ultimately the only thing that can save magazine brands long-term as consumers continue to shift their media consumption online.

“By reimagining how Self creates content, and how we distribute it, we are uniquely positioned to give consumers more of what they love while creating innovative and engaging opportunities for our advertising partners,” said Norton in a statement.

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