Source: New York Times
Condé Nast, the publisher behind Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ and thirty four others, is cutting 5% of its work force at the start of the new month. The 5% makes up 270 employees worldwide that were blindsided by the decision, which they learned about on Wednesday, October 10th. The decision was announced to these employees through a letter penned by the company's Chief Executive, Roger Lynch.
Lynch explained to the recipients that the decision was a result of "a decline in social media traffic and shifting audience behaviors," according to the New York Times. Lynch also listed Artificial Intelligence as one of the reasons for the changing trends, calling the changes unforeseeable since AI continues to evolve each day. Another reason listed was the consumers' shortened attention spans, noting more success on Tik Tok and YouTube Reels over long-form videos that were popular a few years ago.
Of course, the employees that were let go weren't revealed but it can be assumed that most are in the digital media, specifically video production, departments across the several publications, or specifically in Condé Nast Entertainment. This division has been imperative in the relevance of some Condé Nast brands, from several viral short stories from The New Yorker to Vogue's "73 Questions" and "Life in Looks" YouTube series.
A Condé Nast spokeswoman told NYT, “The company will keep the Condé Nast Entertainment brand for now," and plans to continue its long-form productions even if the division doesn't have a leader assigned at the moment, after Agnes Chu exited as the previous head. This makes it clear that the division is on the chopping block and the first step is the laying off of the employees.
In 2022, Lynch told The Wall Street Journal that 2021 was the first time in years that the publishing house had made a profit. Before that year, Condé Nast had a reported $100 million in losses each year. Lynch confirmed that the profits only grew in 2022 but the company still hasn't reached its goals and has been searching for ways to evolve and keep the momentum going.
"If you think back to all the transformation work that we’ve done since I got here," Lynch told NYT, "...it was really enabling us to invest in other areas of our business." The company has also closed doors to a few office locations in hopes to cut costs and balance out the revenue.
Lynch is sticking by the changes he continues to make and has announced that the cuts will continue over the next few months to get the company in shape. In the meantime, employees are going to have to hold their breath and make sure they aren't next to receive a letter from Lynch.