Time Inc., the publisher of magazines including Time and Sports Illustrated, has begun eliminating about 6% of its head count -- nearly 500 jobs -- in the biggest round of cuts at the company since 2008.
"With the significant and ongoing changes in our industry, we must continue to transform our company into one that is leaner, more nimble and more innately multi-platform," CEO Laura Lang said in a memo to employees today. "To make this change, we need to operate as smartly and efficiently as possible to create room for critical investments and new initiatives. These reductions are part of this important transformation process. "
Meetings with affected employees began Wednesday morning and were expected to continue throughout the day.
Staffers had been enjoying a bit of a respite from the regular layoffs under former Chairman-CEO Ann Moore, who eliminated thousands of jobs through cuts and magazines sales in the 2000s. But they also expected a large swing of the axe sooner or later under Ms. Lang, a publishing novice who joined from Digitas in January 2012. One of her first moves was to call a top-to-bottom review facilitated by consultants from Bain & Co., evaluating priorities, opportunities and trouble spots.
Time Inc. counted as many as 12,000 employees as recently as 2007, but was down to 8,000 before today's cuts.
Time Inc. is not alone in reducing head count, but the scope of today's action is broader than others. Meredith Corp., the publisher of magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal and Family Circle, laid off about 60 employees on Jan. 18, less than 2% of its roughly 3,400 employees.
Time Inc. revenue over the first nine months of the year totaled nearly $2.5 billion, down 6.2% from the equivalent period in 2011 more than 26% below the first nine months of 2008. Time Warner plans to report its financial results for the fourth quarter and 2012 as a whole on Feb. 6.