IDG Outlines Plans Following Restructuring
New CEO talks leadership changes, sales strategy, role of print.
The dust is still settling on a major overhaul of IDG’s U.S. portfolio—a collection of consumer and B2B brands, a burgeoning ad network, more than 100 events and a nascent video unit, chief among its holdings—but its new top exec, Peter Longo, says the company is now better positioned to take advantage of its strengths.
The group also appears to be significantly leaner however. While initial reports noted that editorial staff, including several in leadership roles, would be leaving the company, C-level positions were also impacted. Matt Yorke, CEO of the company’s B2B division, IDG Enterprise, and Bob Melk, CEO of IDG Consumer & SMB, were not among a list of executives for the newly-formed U.S. Media Group provided by the company. IDG would not confirm the departures of any individual employees though.
Longo noted that the editorial cuts came from both the consumer and B2B sides, though he wouldn’t provide a headcount. A separate industry source says layoffs extended to sales, custom content and events departments, as well.
The moves come as IDG found itself increasingly trapped in a web of legacy processes—a position not unique to IDG, Longo notes. Readers and advertisers moved toward digital platforms, and new products were adopted to meet the evolving demand, but, despite efforts to shift away from print over the years, a structure originally built to handle printed content and direct sales stood in the way of efficiency.
"We’ve had a number of different sales organizations—some direct, some programmatic, some divided by brand—and we felt like moving our owned and operated brands closer toward programmatic and exchange-based solutions was going to benefit them," Longo says. "One of the immediate changes was moving the consumer properties—Macworld, PC World, Greenbot and TechHive—into our network environment where our network salespeople could continue to represent those properties on a direct basis, but so we’d also make that inventory available on a programmatic basis."
Longo’s promotion to CEO of the U.S. Media Group makes sense in light of the emphasis on network sales. He’d served as CEO of the company’s network initiative, IDG TechNetwork, until his recent appointment.
"[IDG TechNetwork] has been the fastest-growing piece of the company for some time," he says. "The market was telling us the right way to go there."
Macworld’s print edition was also folded as a part of the restructuring process. That decision followed the end of print for Computerworld and CSO earlier this summer, and PC World in 2013. Macworld had about 160,000 print subscribers and a digital subscriber base of 40,000, according to its most recent BPA audit.
"Print is something we manage for profitability," Longo says. "And as we see our readers move more toward digital, where we think it’s appropriate, we move to an all-digital format. On the consumer side, with the Macworld change, the makeup of that audience is extremely digital so, as [digital audience] continued to grow and print continued to wane, it made sense."