Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

'Trading Dollars for Pennies'-Why Digital Staffs Are Getting Cut Too: Short-Term Economics Is Taking a Toll on Online Staffs, Particularly at Larger Consumer Publishers

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

'Trading Dollars for Pennies'-Why Digital Staffs Are Getting Cut Too: Short-Term Economics Is Taking a Toll on Online Staffs, Particularly at Larger Consumer Publishers

Article excerpt

YOU'D THINK IF ANY GROUP was immune to layoffs, it would be digital. In FOLIO:'S Magazine Industry Job Report, which came out in March, 53 percent of respondents to a survey on hiring said that their company is most focused on filling online positions (compared to just 24 percent for print). Meanwhile, 75 percent of b-to-b CEOs [B-to-B Magazine CEO Survey, May 2008] and 66.5 percent of consumer CEOs [Consumer Magazine CEO Survey, October 2008] say e-media will offer the fastest growth over next year (followed by new print advertisers, which surprisingly edged out events as the second-fastest growing revenue stream).

But while almost every publishing discipline is feeling the squeeze of mass layoffs, digital groups are surprisingly hard-hit, especially at the larger consumer publishers. One major consumer publisher is in the process of farming out all of its IT functions, including Web development, to India. Meanwhile, Mansueto Ventures, publisher of Fast Company and Inc., merged its online group into its print department, reflecting the struggle even that company is going through in its approach to new media, despite its reputation (and success) as a leading edge publisher.

CondeNet might be the most dramatic example, cutting more than three dozen online staffers as well as most of the Portfolio.com staff and pulling back on most of the site's original content.

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