Dotdash Meredith is ending the monthly print publications for Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, EatingWell, Health, Parents and People en Español, Dotdash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel said in a Wednesday memo to staff, obtained by Variety.
The publications will go digital-only effective today, and the transition is expected to terminate roughly 200 positions on the print side, Vogel said. The April editions of the print magazines will be the brands’ last, and the 200 eliminated jobs represent less than 5% of Dotdash Meredith’s total staff, according to Wall Street Journal, which broke the news.
“This is an important step in the evolution of Dotdash Meredith, and I want to be clear with everyone about what we are doing and what is ahead,” Vogel’s memo says. “We have said from the beginning, buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites. It is not news to anyone that there has been a pronounced shift in readership and advertising from print to digital, and as a result, for a few important brands, print is no longer serving the brand’s core purpose. As such, we are going to move to a digital-only future for these brands, which will help us to unlock their full potential.”
Dotdash, the digital publishing division of Barry Diller’s holding company IAC, acquired Meredith for $2.7 billion last year. Vogel, then CEO of Dotdash, took the reigns of the combined Dotdash Meredith company. Dotdash, formerly known as About.com, was acquired by IAC from The New York Times in 2012 for $300 million in cash. The media company houses 14 brands across health, finance, lifestyle, food and beauty, including Verywell, Investopedia, The Balance, The Spruce, Simply Recipes, Serious Eats, Byrdie, Liquor.com, Treehugger and Brides. After acquiring Meredith, it also brought in People and Better Homes & Gardens.
Read Vogel’s full memo below:
Effective today, we will no longer be printing monthly magazines for EatingWell, Entertainment Weekly, Health, InStyle, Parents, and People en Español. This is an important step in the evolution of Dotdash Meredith, and I want to be clear with everyone about what we are doing and what is ahead.
We have said from the beginning, buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites. It is not news to anyone that there has been a pronounced shift in readership and advertising from print to digital, and as a result, for a few important brands, print is no longer serving the brand’s core purpose. As such, we are going to move to a digital-only future for these brands, which will help us to unlock their full potential. These brands are among our most successful, important, and fastest growing digital properties – the online audience for Parents, InStyle, and EatingWell are each up over 40% year-over-year – and all of these brands have a bright future.
The decision to evolve these brands to digital-only means that some jobs – roughly 200 roles primarily supporting our print operations – will be eliminated. Transitions like this are very difficult, impacting colleagues and friends, some of whom have been with the company for decades. I can’t thank these employees enough for getting these brands to the strong place they are at today. Brand leaders have already notified those impacted, and we are taking great care to help ensure a smooth transition for these employees.
Today’s step is not a cost savings exercise and it is not about capturing synergies or any other acquisition jargon, it is about embracing the inevitable digital future for the affected brands. We are very serious about investing for growth – in 2022 alone we will be investing over $80 million in content across our brands. We currently have over 100 open positions in editorial, engineering, product, design, and ecommerce, some of which we hope to fill with people impacted today.
Naysayers will interpret this as another nail in print’s coffin. They couldn’t be more wrong – print remains core to Dotdash Meredith. From PEOPLE to BHG to Southern Living to WOOD, and all our other beloved print publications, we continue to provide incredible value to readers in print, and we will proudly print over 350 million magazines in 2022. Beginning today, we will be investing in our print-forward brands and products: everything from enhancing paper quality and trim sizes, to ensuring world-class editorial and beautiful photography. We are infusing fresh energy across these print-forward brands in all formats to make sure they can meet both the moment and the needs of their readers in new and innovative ways.
These are difficult decisions but we believe they are the correct decisions. We remain as enthusiastic as ever for the future of our brands and our company.