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CUTBACKS CUTTING EVEN DEEPER: The economic climate is causing more magazines to cut back. Playboy, in its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said it would slash 80 jobs and will make deeper-than-expected budget cuts. Chief executive officer Christie Hefner wrote in a memo to Playboy employees that the company would cut $12 million in expenses instead of the $10 million it had projected. The trimming involves multiple changes in its business, including outsourcing newsstand sales for Playboy magazine and its special editions, and exiting the DVD business “in phases over a few months.” The company will also significantly reduce travel and entertainment, as well as overtime pay, replace its printed holiday card with an e-card, install energy-efficient lightbulbs, eliminate disposable plastic water bottles and change to a lighter weight of magazine paper. Moreover, Hefner wrote, “based on the company’s performance this year, the management incentive plan will not pay out, and all of us will forgo profit-sharing payments.” As a result of the moves, 80 positions will be eliminated, of which 25 are open positions that will not be filled. Hefner blamed the “steady weakening of the economy, which has greatly exacerbated the existing challenges” of higher production costs and advertisers migrating to other platforms as the cause of the cuts.
But Playboy is certainly not the only publisher feeling the pinch. Luxury magazine publisher Niche Media this week laid off staffers across some of its titles, including Ocean Drive, Los Angeles Confidential, Philadelphia Style and Capitol File. The cuts were part of a reorganization that included consolidating positions in production and accounting to New York for the Niche titles. While the number of those laid off could not be learned, sources say the magazine is hiring people at certain expanding titles: Boston Common, Philadelphia Style and Capitol File are moving from a bimonthly to an eight-times-a-year schedule next year, while Los Angeles Confidential is moving to a 10-times annual schedule from eight times this year.
— Stephanie D. Smith