IAC/InterActiveCorp, the media group owned by Barry Diller, announced that it will end the print publication of six magazines that it gained control of last year with its acquisition of Meredith Corp.
Several of the six magazines are familiar to people who spend time at supermarket front ends: Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, EatingWell, Health, Parents and People en Español.
April 2022 will be the last time the six magazines are published in print form.
In an internal memo, Dotdash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel said that "we have said from the beginning, buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites … It is not news to anyone that there has been a pronounced shift in readership and advertising from print to digital, and as a result, for a few important brands, print is no longer serving the brand’s core purpose."
And, Vogel said, "Naysayers will interpret this as another nail in print’s coffin. They couldn’t be more wrong.”
The Journal quotes Vogel's memo as saying that "the company plans on investing in its 19 remaining print magazines - which include People, Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living - by enhancing paper quality and trimming sizes. Dotdash Meredith also plans to invest $80 million in 2022 in content across all brands."
- KC's View:
I'm not sure it will just be naysayers who will see this is as a nail in print's coffin.
The thing is, just spending more money on the remaining print properties doesn't strike me as a compelling narrative for how they will survive in a market that seems to be all headwinds. That's not to say they can't - the argument that Diller's company was buying lifestyle brands, not magazines, is a compelling one. (And there's a metaphor here for bricks-and-mortar food retailers, who maybe ought to think of themselves as lifestyle brands, not just as the repository for other people's brands.)
But somebody has to explain the narrative - explain to me how the content disseminated by People, Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living is best absorbed through better paper quality as opposed to a vibrant website.
I started out as a daily newspaper reporter. I love print. I'm open to the argument. I just don't hear anyone making it in a compelling way.