Bloodbath At Variety: Hammond, Thompson Let Go

Variety confirmed layoffs of 30 people across the board today, including editorial, sales and corporate staff.

This article was last updated at 2:48pm PT.
 
Newsprint is bleeding money, and Variety is trying to staunch the flow. The trade confirmed layoffs of 30 people across the board today, including editorial, sales and corporate staff. 
 
Among those leaving is Madelyn Hammond, head of marketing at the trade and responsible for global branding. She was hired in December 2007 for a second go-round at Variety, and praised at the time "as a star performer in an industry that values its stars" by Reed Business Information CEO Tad Smith. Two reports said she left last Friday.
 
Other measures were under consideration, including the fate of Weekly Variety, whose publication date might be moved to Fridays, according to one employee of the trade.
 
"The modest staff cuts will in no way compromise the editorial integrity of Variety or Daily Variety," said editor-in-chief Peter Bart, in announcing the cuts on the trade’s website on Monday. He said that he and Neil Stiles, president and publisher of Variety, "deeply regret that any personnel had to be let go in these difficult times." 
 
Among the big surprises in the layoffs was Anne Thompson, one of the trade’s leading film reporters and a known favorite of Bart. She announced the news of her departure on her blog, where ironically she also announced the launch of thewrap.com on Monday morning.

 

Others included reporters Ben Fritz, Mike Jones and Phil Gallo. 

 
In an email, Bart said that Hammond had decided to return to consulting.  The 29 others laid off include one graphic designer from the Variety.com staff and at least one person from special sections.  
 
Like all of newsprint, Variety has been struggling with a declining advertising market, the migration of readers to the Internet and the inability to match Internet ad sales with the pricier ads in newsprint. Hollywood studios have also drastically reduced the number of ads they have placed in this awards season, which is when the trades generally earn up to 40 percent of their revenues. 
 
The cutbacks leave Variety with staff of approximately 100, based on earlier reports of staffing of 140 late last year. Variety closed its Washington DC bureau in December. 
 
The Hollywood Reporter has also undergone major layoffs in recent months, including 12 people in July, and another 12 people in December, including the managing editor Harley Lond and lead tv critic Barry Garron.