Sunday, June 26, 2022

People’s print magazine facing closure amid chaos in newsroom: Sources

People may cancel its weekly print edition because its new owner wants to slash costs — even as the author privately admits that the magazine’s new editor looks an odd fit for the celebrity-gossip icon. , The Post has learned

People’s employees — known for “Sexiest Man Alive” covers at grocery checkout lines, beauty salons and doctor’s offices — are set to go online only after DotDash Meredith, a unit of billionaire Barry, for the magazine. Sources close to the situation said that Diller’s IAC closed several print publications.

These include Entertainment Weekly and Fashion Glossy InStyle, which were once profitable and full of ad pages. Meanwhile, People faced getting the ax despite claiming the largest audience of any American magazine for nearly a decade until 2018, when it handed the title over to AARP.

“I think it’s a goner,” a well-established source said of the People’s Weekly edition. The source said the executive is instead looking at monthly or quarterly editions as well as special-themed issues, which have a much higher cover price.

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“The new editor doesn’t know what she’s doing. The staff at editorial meetings are messaging each other and turning a blind eye when she talks.”

post source

Employees recognized that new editor Liz Vacarillo did not have the entertainment tools to drive people.
Getty Images for MPA – The Us

The Post also learned that DotDash Meredith quietly reduced People’s circulation from 3.4 million to 2.5 million, as well as reducing the number of pages per magazine to about eight. An insider pointed out that the deductible subscriptions are free or low-cost subscriptions that do not justify the cost of mailing issues.

A Dotdash Meredith spokesperson said: “A change in People Magazine’s rate base from 3.4 to 2.5 million – which was shared with advertisers in April of this year – and a temporary change in total pages due to a lack of international paper, The claims and numbers given for this story by an unnamed source are completely false.

“People’s magazine will continue to publish weekly, as it has for nearly 50 years, and benefit from the significant investments we are making in people’s brands and products,” the spokesperson said.

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People's print magazine facing closure amid chaos in newsroom: Sources
Sources say sales to People’s Newsstand have been uneven since Vacariello took office in February.
Getty Images for Gryph and IvyRose

While talks of a change in frequency are in flux and a decision has not been made, insiders say the People’s editorial office is in disarray under the magazine’s new editor Liz Vaccariello, who replaced Dan Wakeford during the February reorganization. Vacarillo, who worked with Rachel Ray in top positions at Real Simple, Parents, Reader’s Digest and Every Day, is filling the magazine with “soft stories,” a source said.

“The new editor doesn’t know what she’s doing. In editorial meetings, staff are messaging each other and turning a blind eye when she talks.”

“Liz is a very talented editor, but she’s not an entertainment editor,” said another insider, who explained that Vacarillo doesn’t have the entertainment “contact” or the sense to sell celebrity news magazines.

“She didn’t know who Channing Tatum was!” The source said.

Insiders cited a recent incident in which People staffers pushed Jada Pinkett-Smith for a recent cover of the magazine after her husband Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Academy Awards on Rock’s joke Told about his alopecia.

The incident shook the entertainment industry and made headlines around the world, but Vaccariello shrugged it off and instead opted to stay with current cover star, Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin.

The issue is currently on newsstands, and it is too early to see how it will sell, with The Post having learned that the number of People’s newsstands has declined since Wakeford’s departure in February.

Sources told The Post that under Wakeford, people were selling more than 200,000 copies a week at the newspaper stand. Since then, newsstand sales have been uneven, with the May 2 Prince Harry cover selling approximately 160,000 copies, and the March 14 Lizzo cover selling between 125,000– 150,000 copies, being called one of the worst-selling issues of all time. Half-century history of the people.

But a source with knowledge said that Vacarillo also has some of this year’s best-selling issues, pointing to the April 11 Will Smith cover and the April 18 Bruce Willis cover, both of which have more than 220,000 copies. sold.

People's print magazine facing closure amid chaos in newsroom: Sources
Sources said People’s recent Lizzo cover was one of the worst sales in its history.

People are still called “profitable” by sources of knowledge, but IAC officials are taking aggressive steps to reduce costs. Insiders said they are now focusing on problems that have nothing to do with the People’s editor change-up. These include catered advertising revenue and low circulation, rising postage rates and a paper shortage.

“The people of IAC are not good. Barry Diller is no good,” said one source, who noted that the new ownership “doesn’t make sense” to print magazines, they just want to “make money”.

The company also shut down PeopleTV, Glossy’s struggling broadcast TV show, as exclusively reported by The Post.

The source said there has been a jarring conflict between the corporate cultures of Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith and Diller’s IAC, which is headquartered in New York’s trendy meatpacking district.

“The Meredith guys show up at meetings in Crocs. They have wicker furniture in their offices,” the source said. “You can’t walk up to Barry Diller’s Frank Gehry-designed spaceship in Crocs. IAC is like ‘The Matrix’. There’s no furniture and people wearing Prada welcome you.”

People's Prince Harry cover
The People’s Prince Harry cover on newsstands dipped in sales below 200,000, sources told The Post.

According to a knowledgeable source, during the pandemic, people’s advertising revenue halved. The source said that with digital advertising bringing in $125 million, advertising declined by about $125 million per year.

Nonetheless, according to People’s Media Kit, the brand has 118 million subscribers across print, digital and social media.

Employees began to discuss the possible demise of the public when a handful of publishing and marketing executives left the company after DotDash came to power. These included People Group publisher Carrie Witmer and People Magazine publisher Seuss Ryan, both focused on selling print and digital advertising.

His departure signaled to many that DotDash is following a similar playbook for people as it has with other Meredith publications. Earlier this year, the company discontinued the print editions of Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Eatingwell, Health, Parents and People en Espanol.

Eating Well Magazine on Display
Dotdash Meredith spun off six print magazines after the merger with Meredith, including Eating Well.
Eatingwell and IF . Getty Images for

At the time, Dotdash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel told employees that the move would help transition publications to digital-only brands. He also said that the move would cut around 200 jobs.

“We’ve said from the beginning that buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites,” Vogel said in his note. “It is no news to anyone that there has been a marked shift in readership and advertising from print to digital, and as a result, for some important brands, print is no longer serving the original purpose of the brand.”

During the pandemic, the reduction in print readership and advertising has become more apparent than ever. Oprah’s O Magazine ceased printing in 2020, and women’s magazine Marie Claire ended its print run in 2021 after 27 years.

Over the past three years, Hearst has reduced the frequencies of magazines such as Elle and Cosmopolitan, while Condé Nast has reduced the frequencies of glossy Vogue and Vanity Fair amid declining readership and advertising revenue.

People's print magazine facing closure amid chaos in newsroom: Sources
Diller with his wife, fashion designer, Diane von Furstenberg, at the Met Gala. Sources said Diller is a shrewd businessman who is focused on making Meredith’s brands profitable—even if it means shutting down print magazines.

Vogel said in February that his company would invest in its 19 remaining print magazines — including People, Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living — by increasing the quality of the paper and the size of the trimmings.

But tactics change rapidly in the media and critics have whispered that the acquisition of Meredith by IAC, known for its digital brands, is likely spelling doom for its glut down the line.

“Barry Diller bought Meredith to sell it,” said a well-established source. “He always makes them [the brands] is more lean and profitable, then he resells it. ,

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