When we started working on the annual Ad Age Magazines of the Year package in the fall, there were six large magazine publishers: American Media Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rodale and Time Inc.
Soon—once Hearst finalizes its acquisition of Rodale, and Meredith swallows Time Inc.—there will be four.
You've probably heard publishing types say something like, "It's been a challenging year." That's for public consumption. Private translation: "It's been absolutely brutal." Beyond the headline-making consolidation, the biggest players have all cut (sometimes slashed) budgets, and various independents—e.g., Wenner Media, which offloaded Us Weekly and Men's Journal to AMI and, as of this writing, is still looking for a buyer for Rolling Stone—began a slow fade to black.
But what made 2017 particularly transformative is that more than traditional publishers were under siege. Digital natives also faced stiff headwinds. BuzzFeed, after missing revenue projections, announced it was cutting 100 staffers; Mashable sold for a fraction of its previous presumed value; and Verizon laid off more than 500 employees of Yahoo and AOL.
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