Meredith, owner of People, slashes pay as advertising revenue slumps

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Blake Shelton named People’s Sexiest Man of the Year.

Source: People

Meredith Corp., the owner of magazines including “People” and “Entertainment Weekly,” said Monday it is cutting pay for about 60% of its staff until Sept. 4 as advertising revenue slumps amid coronavirus quarantines.

About 2,000 Meredith employees will receive a temporary 15% cut in salary, the company said in a statement. An additional 750 employees, including Meredith’s highest paid executives, will take pay cuts ranging from 20% to 40%. The company’s remaining 2,250 employees won’t receive a pay reduction.

Employees that are taking a pay cut will also begin working four-day weeks from May 4 to Sept. 4, the company said.

In addition, Meredith is instituting a hiring and wage freeze and a “significant” reduction in using freelance writers for its magazine, the company said. The company announced today it is withdrawing its fiscal 2020 performance expectations last communicated in February and suspending its dividend. Meredith said it “will revisit these actions in late summer once it has a better read on how fast the economy and advertising markets are recovering.”

Print and digital media companies have been contracting and cutting salaries as companies across the globe look to save money on expenses such as advertising. About half of Meredith’s total revenue comes from advertising. The New York Times estimated last week about 33,000 employees of U.S. news media companies have been laid off, furloughed or had their pay reduced in recent weeks. Companies such as Buzzfeed and Vox have also announced pay cuts in the past few weeks. 

Meredith is the largest U.S. magazine operator, owning more than 20 newsstand and subscription titles including lifestyle publications such as “Better Homes & Gardens” and “InStyle.” It also owns 17 local television stations reaching about 30 million U.S. viewers.

Watch: Expect job cuts as revenues fall amid virus crisis, says business leaders survey

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