As Hearst Magazines prepares to reduce the frequency of O, The Oprah Magazine from 12 issues to four next year, it is implementing layoffs.
According to a WARN notice filed with the New York State Labor Department Friday, 59 staffers will be laid off, starting in February. It did not give further details of who will be affected, but the layoffs are thought to impact mainly the print side.
A spokeswoman said: “Supporting our colleagues through the peak of the pandemic by protecting jobs and enhancing benefits has been our priority. As we embark on this new chapter and introduce a new model for this beloved brand, we must also make difficult decisions to position the business for growth, which we are doing with consideration and care.”
Hearst informed staffers in July that the regular print run would be ending and in August Oprah Winfrey explained in a video to readers what that would mean, revealing that the title will be printing four special issues a year versus 12.
She also confirmed speculation that the regular magazine print run was ending in part because she has grown tired of posing for every cover (sometimes alongside a guest star like editor at large Gayle King and former First Lady Michelle Obama).
“There’s been a lot of chatter and a lot of speculation about O The Magazine ending. I want you to know it’s not ending. It’s evolving because after 20 years of covers I think it’s time. I also think it’s a good thing because none of us were meant to stay the same. We evolve with the times. So, yes, we are ending the monthly print edition with this year’s December issue….In 2021, I want to continue with at least four special print editions,” she said at the time.
Winfrey began her partnership with Hearst Magazines to produce the title in 2000. It claims to have a print audience of 10 million and 7.8 million unique visitors to Oprahmag.com. The latter has increased by 608 percent over the past year.
Recently, Winfrey has become increasingly busy with other projects, such as a just-unveiled interview series with Apple.
As for Hearst, while it appears to have been Winfrey’s decision to shrink print, some of the company’s other major titles are printing less this year amid the pandemic and it is unclear if this is a permanent change. Marie Claire will have seven issues this year, compared to 11 in 2019. Elle magazine, the company’s biggest fashion title, will publish 10 issues this year instead of 12 as in 2019. Cosmopolitan, meanwhile, will release 10, versus 12 in 2019. Harper’s Bazaar is at nine, compared to 10 last year.
And while print frequency has been shrinking, Hearst has been looking to monetize digital more through membership programs and metered paywalls, with advertising remaining volatile. In recent months, these have been rolled out at Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Good Housekeeping, Popular Mechanics and Men’s Health.
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