The wave of cutbacks and layoffs at major publishers accelerated this week with the announcement that Fortune magazine is laying off 35 employees globally— “approximately 10% of our payroll,” according to a company spokesperson. The Wrap reported that the company’s executives will also see pay cuts, with CEO Alan Murray taking a 50 percent cut and the rest of the executive committee seeing its compensation drop by about 30 percent. Valence Media, which publishes Billboard, the Hollywood Reporter and Vibe, said on April 14 that it is instituting hiring freezes and salary reductions for those making more than $100K annually. In addition, co-CEOs Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk will not be taking their salaries. Valence’s staffing cuts include Vibe deputy editor William Ketchum III and Billboard writers Will Gottsegen, Chris Payne and Annie Reuter. Condé Nast is also reducing the salaries of employees making $100K or more per year (just under half the company, according to the New York Times), with its senior management team seeing a pay cut of 20 percent. It also plans to put employees in some markets on three- or four-day work weeks and has frozen hiring for many of its open positions.
Amazon is scaling down its affiliate program, which is a major source of revenue for digital publishers. As of April 21, the commissions paid to publishers who steer readers to Amazon to purchase items featured on their sites will fall by as much as 60 percent. The product areas to see the biggest drop include furniture, home improvement and pet products. While commission rates in those categories currently sit at eight percent, they will be just three percent under the new rules. Publishers have been increasingly relying on such revenues to counter declines in advertising. The New York Times acquired product review site Wirecutter in 2016, and New York magazine operates The Strategist, a vertical focused on online shopping via affiliate links.
Deirdre Bolton is leaving her anchor position at Fox Business Network to join ABC News as a business correspondent, based in New York. Bolton hosted her own show, “Risk and Reward with Deirdre Bolton,” at Fox and then was as a full-time business correspondent. Before moving to Fox, she was an anchor on Bloomberg TV and served as a CBS News contributor. Other employees who have moved from Fox to ABC in the past include Meghan McCain and Abby Huntsman, both currently co-hosts on “The View,” ABC News correspondent Will Carr and ABC News correspondent Diane Macedo.