The Wall Street Journal first reported that the company is laying off around 200 staffers, and is merging Cooking Light, one of its Birmingham, Alabama titles—where a number of lifestyle titles are housed, including Southern Living and Food & Wine—with EatingWell.
The new EatingWell will move to a 1.775 million rate base and will have a frequency of 10 issues per year. Cooking Light will continue as a newsstand-only title published six times a year. Both brands will maintain separate websites as well. The cost-saving merger will create a more efficient path to scale for Meredith, who already has a portfolio of 14 food titles, including Allrecipes, Family Circle and Rachael Ray Every Day.
“Combining the powerful EatingWell and Cooking Light magazines will strengthen our editorial product while providing advertisers with access to this passionate group of consumers seeking a healthier lifestyle,” said Carey Witmer, EVP and Group Publisher of the Meredith Food Group, in a statement. “We believe an enhanced EatingWell best positions Meredith for continuing success and will drive sustainable growth.”
The staffing cuts are not exclusive to the Birmingham offices. The company will also be outsourcing its retail operation, which manages the physical distribution of Time Inc. newsstand copies.
Additionally, the cuts will also impact departments that include IT, ad ops, editorial and consumer revenue.
This latest round of cuts and strategic shifts aren’t expected to be the last at the Iowa-based Meredith Corporation, which is the largest magazine publisher in the U.S. It’s significant size means it has considerable operating expenses and more fat to trim. Not to mention questions will continue to swirl around the the fate of Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money. All four have been on the market for several months, but Meredith has yet to find an intriguing offer to pull the trigger.
This is, of course, a ongoing story, which we will continue to cover.