It’s not reliable to rely on the rich: the impact of the epidemic on paper media in the United States


Zheng Jun from Silicon Valley
No one thought that the old magazine, which had a large number of subscribers during the new crown epidemic, had joined the trend of layoffs, and they still relied on the American super rich.
For the media, the new crown epidemic is like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has unprecedentedly increased the importance of news information and popular science analysis, significantly increased the number of media visits and subscriptions, but on the other hand, the economic downturn has affected the advertising expenditure, directly hit the advertising revenue that the media relies on to survive. Like most industries, the media industry is unable to survive the impact of the once-in-a-hundred-year epidemic and is forced into a wave of layoffs.
Just before the Memorial Day holiday, the Atlantic announced 68 job cuts, or 17 percent. With a 163 year history and headquarters in Washington, D.C., Atlantic Monthly is one of the most influential serious magazines in the United States.
The 68 people who have been laid off this time mainly involve the activity team, as well as the marketing and sales team. But the cuts also involved 22 editors, including a video team of 11. In addition, magazine executives will accept a pay cut, and the company will temporarily freeze compensation. Atlantic also froze recruitment and paid internship programs.
After layoffs and restructuring, Atlantic Monthly will focus on paid subscriptions. After the reintroduction of the payment wall in September last year, the number of magazine subscribers has increased by 160000. At present, there are 500000 paper and online subscribers, with an annual digital subscription fee of $50. Atlantic Monthly plans to reach the goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of 2022.
In the past few years, the mainstream media in the United States have launched conference activities, hoping to increase new revenue sources and offset the impact of the decline in advertising revenue. Corporate executives and new rich are willing to pay for sponsorship fees to make themselves appear in high-end events, increasing their industry influence and public exposure. But during the outbreak, almost all offline activities were cancelled, cutting off the financial path of activities.
Like other media, the new crown epidemic brings opportunities and blows to Atlantic Monthly. Thanks to the growth of people’s information demand during the plague, Atlantic Monthly’s subscribers increased by 90000 in the past two months, and its monthly visits to the website reached 87 million, a record high for both. But advertising and activity revenues have declined significantly.
However, the Atlantic Monthly is the first major layoff in the media held by the US super rich. Three years ago, jobs’ widow, laurene jobs, had a controlling stake in the Atlantic Monthly, Emerson collective, a social change fund. In a statement, Lauren said that for the magazine to work to promote equality for all, to light up and defend American ideas, “report on our great, sometimes chaotic, experiments in social democracy.”.
Lauren’s personal assets are mainly from the shares of Disney and apple held by jobs. Due to the decline of Disney’s share price during the outbreak, her assets have slightly shrunk. At present, she is about 21 billion dollars, but still the world’s top 40 super rich. Atlantic is just a part of her media matrix, but it is the most influential media asset.
Since March, more than 30 million people in the United States have applied for unemployment benefits, affected by the U.S. economic slowdown. Although the media industry is a necessary industry for people’s livelihood and can continue to operate, the U.S. economy has fallen into recession and the consumption has declined sharply, which directly affects the advertising expenditure of advertisers, which is the main source of revenue for the media industry. In addition, even online advertisers now prefer social advertising.
According to the New York Times, more than 37000 media employees in the United States have suffered pay cuts, suspension and layoffs. Other mainstream media that announced layoffs included quartz (80 job cuts), vice (155 job cuts), Conde Nast (100 job cuts), the vogue publisher, the Economist (90 job cuts), and fortune (35 job cuts).
Even those media without layoffs have announced wage cuts to reduce operating labor costs and offset the impact of declining advertising revenue. In the past month, vox media, slate, Gannett, and buzzfeed, publishers of USA today, have announced salary cuts for middle and senior managers or all employees. Even the Los Angeles Times, one of the most mainstream newspapers in the United States, announced a full pay cut and suspended 40 non editorial staff.
In 2018, Patrick son shiong, a Chinese American biopharmaceutical magnate worth more than $10 billion, spent $500 million to buy the Los Angeles Times and other paper media. This is the first mainstream media in the United States to be acquired by the rich Chinese. Huang Xinxiang was born and raised in South Africa and became rich in the United States. He is also the richest Chinese in the United States.
“I’m sorry for those who left,” David Bradley, chairman of the Atlantic publisher, wrote in an email about the layoffs. I’m sorry for losing you, and I’m sorry for the job market you’ve entered. “