Motor Trend Publisher Source Interlink Media Folds 12 Magazines, Lays Off Nearly 100

Broad Restructuring at Publisher of Motor Trend and Automobile

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Motor Trend publisher Source Interlink Media has renamed itself TEN: The Enthusiast Network.
Motor Trend publisher Source Interlink Media has renamed itself TEN: The Enthusiast Network.

Source Interlink Media, publisher of Motor Trend and Automobile magazines, has folded 12 titles as part of a broad restructuring that claimed dozens of employees, including half the editorial staff at Automobile, according to Scott Dickey, the company's CEO since February.

Automobile is not among the titles that folded. The company, which also changed its name to TEN: The Enthusiast Network, notified staff of the changes on Thursday.

"We're no longer in neutral," Mr. Dickey told Ad Age. "We're now in gear."

Until Thursday, Source Interlink Media published 72 enthusiast magazines -- including Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Automobile and Surfer -- with roughly 850 employees spread across its headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan; Florida and New York.

Mr. Dickey declined to say exactly how many employees were laid off. "It's less than 100," he said. Jalopnik, the car blog owned by Gawker Media, first reported the layoffs at Automobile on Thursday afternoon.

Source Interlink Media is shuttering the print editions of Popular Hot Rodding, Rod & Custom, High Performance Pontiac, Custom Classic Trucks, 4 Wheel Drive & SUV, Mud Life, 5.0 Mustang, Modified Mustangs & Fords, Camaro Performers, GM Hi-Tech, Import Tuner and Honda Tuning. Content from those titles will be folded into the company's other titles, Mr. Dickey said. Some of the folded magazines' websites will continue.

Automobile is relocating to L.A. from Ann Arbor, with about half the staff moving to Detroit and the rest being laid off. The company plans to hire new editorial staff in L.A. Longtime Editor-in-Chief and President Jean Jennings is leaving the company to focus on the development of her own "Jean Knows Cars" automotive brand, according to Mr. Dickey. Mike Floyd, who has been with Source Interlink Media for the past eight years, will take over as Automobile's new editor-in-chief.

Messages left at the Automobile offices were not returned as of press time.

Automobile's total paid and verified circulation in the last six months of 2013 averaged 569,671, according to a report filed with the Alliance for Audited Media. Print ad pages have declined 4.3% through June from the equivalent six months a year earlier, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Motor Trend, which has a circulation of more than 1.1 million, saw ad pages fall off 15.4% during that time.

New York hedge fund Golden Tree Asset Management owns a majority of Source Interlink Media, which has revenues in the "multiple $100 million" range, according to Mr. Dickey. He said the company is profitable.

"This is one of the more significant moves in the company's history," Mr. Dickey said. "It's indicative of our strategic direction. We have a number of brands that cover enthusiast area and they all have one thing in the common: reaching people who are incredibly enthusiastic."

Mr. Dickey said the company also renamed itself to standout from sibling Source Interlink, a magazine wholesaler that delivers magazines to retailers. The two companies share owners, but have separate management teams. "We're different companies," he said.

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