Rogers lays off one-third of its dig­i­tal and pub­lish­ing em­ploy­ees

The Globe and Mail (BC Edition) - - REPORT ON BUSINESS - TIM SHUFELT

Rogers Me­dia is re­duc­ing its dig­i­tal and pub­lish­ing staff by onethird, cit­ing pres­sures on the print in­dus­try and the loss of ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enues as cause for an­other round of deep cuts. The di­vi­sion of Rogers Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. that pub­lishes ti­tles such as Ma­clean’s, Chate­laine, To­day’s Par­ent and Hello! Canada, told its staff on Thursday that 75 full-time em­ploy­ees have been laid off.

“The pub­lish­ing in­dus­try con­tin­ues to face chal­lenges, as print de­clines out­pace dig­i­tal growth,” An­drea Gold­stein, se­nior di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Rogers Me­dia, said in a state­ment.

“We have re­or­ga­nized our dig­i­tal con­tent and pub­lish­ing struc­ture to re­flect the head­winds the in­dus­try is fac­ing and make the busi­ness sus­tain­able.”

Ms. Gold­stein said that while read­er­ship for its mag­a­zines has been sta­ble in re­cent years, that has not been enough to off­set steep losses to print-ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue.

As the in­dus­try adapts to the shift from print to on­line pub­lish­ing in Canada, it has strug­gled to gen­er­ate enough dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue to sus­tain many pub­li­ca­tions. Cit­ing data from News Me­dia Canada, Rogers said Facebook and Google to­gether claimed nearly three-quar­ters of the $5.5-bil­lion dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing mar­ket in Canada in 2016.

Still, Rogers said no ti­tles will be dis­con­tin­ued in its lat­est cuts. “To­day’s changes do not im­pact the qual­ity of the con­tent or the fre­quency of our print is­sues,” Ms. Gold­stein said.

Se­nior staff mem­bers are among those leav­ing Rogers, in­clud­ing Steve Maich, the se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of pub­lish­ing.

“Through­out his ex­tra­or­di­nary 14-year ten­ure at Rogers Me­dia, Steve Maich has left an in­deli­ble mark on all those who have had the plea­sure of work­ing with him, and all the loyal read­ers who have en­joyed his writ­ing,” Rick Brace, pres­i­dent of Rogers Me­dia, said in a state­ment.

Mean­while, Lianne Ge­orge, the editor-in-chief of Chate­laine, also re­signed amid the cuts. “To­day is a sad day. A lot of ex­cel­lent peo­ple lost their jobs, some of the best in the busi­ness,” Ms. Ge­orge said on Twit­ter.

The lay­offs are the lat­est in an ef­fort to over­haul Rogers’s mag­a­zine strat­egy, in which the com­pany has re­peat­edly scaled back its pub­lish­ing di­vi­sion in re­cent years amid the steady loss of ad rev­enue.

In 2016, Rogers an­nounced that it would end the print edi­tions of Cana­dian Busi­ness, Flare, MoneySense and Sport­snet mag­a­zines, while re­duc­ing the print sched­ules of Ma­clean’s, Chate­laine and To­day’s Par­ent. ROGERS COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS (RCI.B) CLOSE: $61.94, UP 29¢

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