Dotdash Meredith, the IAC publishing division whose brands include People, EW, Real Simple and Better Homes & Gardens, is the latest media entity to cut jobs amid a decline in ad spending and looming “economic uncertainty,” CEO Neil Vogel said in a memo to staffers Thursday.
Dotdash Meredith was formed in the fall of 2021 by IAC’s acquisition of Meredith in a deal valued at $2.7 billion. In February 2022, the company announced that six titles — EW, InStyle, EatingWell, Health, Parents and People en Español — would cease print editions and switch to digital-only publishing.
“Like many businesses in our space, we have grown aggressively over the last few years, while also integrating our two companies,” Vogel wrote in the memo. “With the difficult market environment and economic uncertainty that lie ahead, we must prioritize our biggest opportunities and make sure we have the proper cost structure in place to pursue them.”
Other media companies that have enacted job cuts recently include BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Fandom.
Dotdash Meredith claims to be largest digital and print publisher in the U.S., reaching an audience of nearly 200 million consumers. Its portfolio includes People, Better Homes & Gardens, Verywell, Food & Wine, The Spruce, Allrecipes, Byrdie, Real Simple, Investopedia and Southern Living.
For the third quarter of 2022, Dotdash Meredith’s digital revenue was $221 million (down 13%) and print revenue was $251 million (down 24%) on a pro-forma basis, IAC reported. The division posted an operating loss of $95 million (vs. operating income of $7 million in the year-earlier period) reflecting restructuring charges in the quarter.
IAC CEO Joey Levin, in the company’s Q3 letter to shareholders, said that “In hindsight, we timed [the Meredith] acquisition poorly,” with Dotdash Meredith experiencing three straight quarters of declines in digital revenue. “Both Dotdash and Meredith have experienced headwinds throughout the year, with soft traffic compared to extraordinary pandemic audiences and an unexpectedly weak digital advertising market,” Levin wrote.
IAC is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2022 results on Feb. 13 after the market closes.
Read Vogel’s memo:
Today, we are making staffing cuts that affect 274 people, 7% of our total employees. HR and business leaders have scheduled 1:1 meetings this morning with those who are impacted. As we have said, we are not immune to the broader challenges of the ad industry and of the economy as a whole, and today’s actions are a direct response to these realities.
These decisions are difficult, and it is hard to see friends and colleagues depart. We are grateful to those leaving the company, whose effort and talent have been significant contributors to our business. Departing colleagues will receive severance, options for health insurance continuation, and will be offered transition support including outplacement services.
Like many businesses in our space, we have grown aggressively over the last few years, while also integrating our two companies. With the difficult market environment and economic uncertainty that lie ahead, we must prioritize our biggest opportunities and make sure we have the proper cost structure in place to pursue them. Today’s actions provide for the most effective and focused use of our resources and put us in a position of strength as we look toward the future.
We remain as confident as ever in our future at Dotdash Meredith. We will have an All-Hands on Monday to talk about the path ahead from here, look forward to speaking to everyone then.