Penske Media Corporation’s Hollywood Reporter is poised to go through a new round of layoffs after misses on revenue targets last quarter, an insider with knowledge told TheWrap.
The first quarter represented a tough advertising environment for all the entertainment trades, but was catastrophic for the Reporter, one of two legacy publications, the insider said.
The individual, a Penske Media staffer, told TheWrap they’d been informed this week of imminent layoffs at THR, this after confirming widespread belt-tightening and reduction of corporate expenditures across Penske Media. Travel and freelance budgets have been slashed dramatically at Variety as well, the insider said.
The trade has already seen massive reductions in head counts, first in 2020 during the first wave of the COVID pandemic, and then again when PMC CEO Jay Penske struck a stock-only deal to take over the trade in a joint venture with Eldridge, now called P-MRC. The merger deal included The Reporter but also Variety, Billboard, Rolling Stone and Vibe.
PMC has also been on a hiring freeze for several months, a second insider told TheWrap.
The move comes in the wake of a challenging advertising environment within the trade industry, with entertainment studios dialing back their usual campaigns for Emmy season this year, and with lower spending during the Oscar season as well.
An additional individual close to Deadline told TheWrap that that PMC digital trade was off by 30% in revenue in Q4 of 2022.
A PMC spokesperson declined to comment on potential layoffs and said the revenue loss numbers shared with TheWrap “are extremely off and don’t make sense.” No further details were offered.
The ongoing strike by the Writers Guild Association — leading to a production stoppage across Hollywood — is also a likely factor in economic uncertainty for PMC.
Penske’s holdings make it one of the largest media companies in the United States. These include the aforementioned trade magazines as well as a stake in the ATX Film Festival and the recent creation of their own cultural festival here in Los Angeles, LA3C.
The downsizing is just one in a series of media entities laying off significant portions of their staff, including Insider, Buzzfeed, Vice and Vox Media.
Editor’s note: Kristen Lopez previously worked for Indiewire, a PMC publication. This story has been updated to clarify the assets in the joint venture between PMC and Eldridge, which includes trades other than THR.