Barry Diller’s Media Group Ends Print Versions of InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, and Other Magazines

From a Wall Street Journal story by Alexandra Bruell headlined “Barry Diller’s Media Group Ends Print Versions of InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, Others”:

Barry Diller’s media group is stopping print circulation of six of the magazines it acquired when it bought Meredith Corp. last year, part of an effort to turn these publications into digital-only brands.

The company will stop publishing print editions for Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, EatingWell, Health, Parents and People en Español, Dotdash, Meredith CEO Neil Vogel said Wednesday.

He also said the moves would result in about 200 job losses—which represents less than 5% of Dotdash Meredith’s total staff. 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,” Mr. Vogel said. “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.”

Magazine and news publishers have struggled in recent years as newsstand and print-advertising revenues have faced serious challenges, including heightened competition from ad giants like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook. Covid-19 further accelerated print media’s demise, bringing newsstand sales to a halt and shifting behaviors online.

AC/InterActiveCorp, led by Mr. Diller, its chairman, purchased Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith for $2.7 billion last year, combining an array of lifestyle publications including Real Simple, Allrecipes and InStyle with Dotdash’s largely digital portfolio, including The Spruce, Serious Eats and TripSavvy.

At the time, the company said it was committed to Meredith’s brands, including the print product.

“Naysayers will interpret this as another nail in print’s coffin,” Mr. Vogel said Wednesday. “They couldn’t be more wrong.”

He said the company plans on investing 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.

Mr. Vogel said the company has more than 100 open positions 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 reached about 100 million online consumers monthly through 14 media brands in health, finance and lifestyle. The combined company, including Meredith’s portfolio of more than 40 brands, reaches close to 200 million online consumers monthly, the company said.


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