Tough news today for the beleaguered print media: Meredith-owned shelter magazine Traditional Home will cease its regular circulation and become a quarterly special interest publication, effective with the Fall/Winter 2019 issue. As part of the cutback, the magazine laid off the majority of its employees based in Des Moines, Iowa, and New York, including publisher Beth McDonough, on Thursday morning. A handful of staffers remain, including editor in chief Jill Waage.
The past few years have been eventful for Meredith: In September 2017, the company announced its acquisition of Time Inc.’s portfolio of 22 tiles. In September 2018, it eliminated roughly 200 jobs, consolidated some titles and shut down others. At the end of the year, Birmingham, Alabama–based Coastal Living, which had celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017, ended its print subscriptions and was converted into a SIP.
Traditional Home had seen its own fair share of changes. In 2017, the magazine’s frequency decreased from eight issues per year to six, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. When senior design and market editor Tori Mellott left the shelter book in August 2018, her position was not filled.
Today’s shake-up at Traditional Home was one of several across the company; in all, 60 employees were let go. An internal memo obtained by BOH stated: “This move is in line with the successful consumer-revenue-focused strategy we recently employed with titles such as Coastal Living and Cooking Light.”
Meredith publishes hundreds of SIPs—stand-alone publications (also called bookazines or magalogues), sold on newsstands for a premium price—including Window & Wall Ideas, Beautiful Kitchens & Baths, and Decorating, and the model has long been a major profit driver for the company. Waage spent 11 years in Meredith’s special interest media division prior to joining Better Homes & Gardens in 2010, then Traditional Home in 2017.