Gannett is setting a wave of cost-cutting measures in motion. The company says the mix of "temporary and permanent actions" includes requiring that employees take five days of unpaid leave in December, offering voluntary buyouts, suspending 401(k) contribution matches and freezing all but essential hires. Gannett's stock price has slid 70 percent for the year, and the company has more than $1B in debt from its 2019 merger with Gatehouse Media. The publisher slashed 400 jobs earlier this year following weak second-quarter earnings and also paused hiring for 400 more. In addition to USA Today, Gannett publishes more than 220 dailies.
Newsweek is bringing over Gannett chief revenue officer Kevin Gentzel to serve as the publication's global chief commercial and growth officer. At Gannett, Gentzel led all advertising and marketing solutions revenue in North America. At Newsweek, he will oversee the entire commercial business side of the operation, including direct sales and programmatic advertising programs, consumer and B2B events, the development of innovative digital marketing solutions, and other key revenue streams. "He joins Newsweek at a critical juncture. The company's successful digital transformation has turned us into a profitable enterprise, and Kevin will be instrumental in propelling our dramatic growth even further," said Newsweek CEO Dev Pragad.
Netflix is launching "Basic with Ads," an ad-supported tier that will run $6.99 a month, on November 3. The new tier will start in 12 countries, including the US, UK and Canada, with plans to expand the program over time. Priced $1 a month less than Disney+ and Hulu with commercials and $3 less than HBO Max with ads, Basic with Ads is set to run four to five minutes of commercials per hour with spots of 15 to 30 seconds in length. Another difference is that while Netflix's premium tier streams at 1080p resolution, viewers with ads will be downgraded to 720p resolution. According to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix will also collect the date of birth and gender of ad-tier subscribers, more information than it now asks customers for, and plans to eventually use that information for ad targeting.