Primedia mags reassigned within co.

Publisher slims operations, reduces $2 bil debt

Primedia’s Media Central Group is being dismantled and the group’s magazine titles reassigned to other Primedia divisions, in the latest effort by the publisher to consolidate operations and reduce nearly $2 billion in debt.

“Simplifying, focusing and executing” was the way Primedia spokesman Whit Clay explained the move. “Senior management has been exploring ways to better serve our advertisers and audiences, and this is part of what they have been talking about.”

Since Tom Rogers stepped down as CEO of Primedia last month, the company has been examining ways to slim down operations. Besides Rogers, Primedia editorial director Elizabeth Crow has left the company, and Linda Platzner, prexy and group publisher of the consumer media and magazine group’s teenage properties, will leave once the sale of Seventeen magazine, which Hearst recently purchased, is completed. Darcy Miller, prexy of an integrated sales and marketing group, will also soon depart.

Under the new arrangement, trade magazines American Demographics, Folio:, Circulation Management and Cable World will be moved to Primedia’s business group. The Kagan publications, which cover cable TV and other media, and the Simba group, which covers book publishing, are relocating to Primedia’s consumer-magazines group.

The Media Central Group was created in 2001 when Stephen Brill was brought on board to integrate Primedia’s print holdings with the Internet and other media outlets.

Clay would not comment on how many staffers would be affected by the consolidation, but confirmed that Folio: editor-in-chief Cable Neuhaus would be leaving.

One source speculated that about 25 staffers were laid off in all.

Announcement comes a week after better-than-expected quarterly results for Primedia, which lost $20.2 million in the first quarter compared to losses totaling $506.5 million a year earlier.

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