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Barry Diller’s IAC to kill print editions of InStyle, Entertainment Weekly

Barry Diller’s media group is pulling the plug on the print editions of six glossies it acquired when it bought Meredith Corp. last year. Diller’s company is ceasing to print Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, EatingWell, Health, Parents and People en Español. IAC confirmed the news, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. IAC bought People magazine publisher Meredith for $2.7 billion last year and combined it with its digital division Dotdash to form Dotdash Meredith. Dotdash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel delivered the news Wednesday via a memo to staff, saying that the move would help turn the publications into digital-only brands. Vogel also said the moves would result in about 200 job losses — which represents less than 5% of Dotdash Meredith’s total staff, a spokeswoman added. The company said the April issues of all six magazines would be their final print editions. “We have said from the beginning, buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites,” Vogel said in his note. “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.” He continued: “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.” The move to pull the plug on six print glossies comes as magazine and newspaper publishers have struggled with slumping demand for print in recent years. Print has also faced steep competition from ad giants like Google and Facebook, which dominate the advertising space. The pandemic has only exacerbated the decline of print media, bringing newsstand sales to a virtual halt as readers opt to get their news and entertainment online. Although media watchers whispered that the acquisition of Meredith by IAC, a company known for its digital brands, likely spelled doom for its glossies, the company vowed that it was committed to Meredith’s brands, including the print product. “Naysayers will interpret this as another nail in print’s coffin,” Vogel said in his memo Wednesday. “They couldn’t be more wrong.” Vogel said the company plans to invest in its 19 remaining print magazines — which include People, Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living — by enhancing paper quality and trimming sizes. Dotdash Meredith also plans to invest $80 million in 2022 in content across all brands. Vogel said the company has more than 100 open jobs in editorial, engineering, product, design, and e-commerce, some of which it hopes to fill with people whose roles have been eliminated. Before the Meredith deal, Dotdash, which includes digital sites like The Spruce, Serious Eats and TripSavvy, reached about 100 million readers through its 14 media brands. IAC said the combined company, including Meredith’s portfolio of more than 40 brands, reaches close to 200 million online consumers monthly. The company’s stock was up more than 4.3% on Wednesday, outpacing the broader market, which was up by only 1%.

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