Tag Archives: Southern Progress Corporation

Southern Progress: 41.4 percent staff reduction in 11 months


Summer was a brutal season for Southern Progress.

After laying off 200 of its 700 employees during the fourth quarter of 2008 — a 28.6 percent cut — the Birmingham-based Time Inc. operation / magazine publisher shed 90 positions total this summer.

Southern Progress sold Southern Living at Home to Entertaining at Home in July, lightening the load by 70 employees (of whom 29 promptly were let go by the new owner earlier this month).

It also ceased publication on Southern Accents magazine, letting 20 staffers go.

With 90 positions cut from the 500 remaining, Southern Progress has tightened up staff by another 18 percent in the last 60 days, or 41.4 percent in the past 11 months.

So, at Southern Progress in the past 11 months:

  • 290 positions eliminated
  • 41.4 percent staff reduction
  • 2 magazines folded
  • 1 operation sold

The one bright spot: Southern Living’s circulation increased 1.35 percent in the first half of 2009, making it No. 19 among U.S. magazines (and No. 4 among Time Inc. titles). (Of course, Reader’s Digest declaring bankruptcy makes it actually No. 18 across the nation.)

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EXCLUSIVE: Southern Living at Home lays off 30 employees

southern-living-at-homeFollowing up on our post from earlier this month, the new Southern Living at Home is leaner and meaner. Media of Birmingham has learned that 30 of the company’s 60 employees were laid off Thursday, as part of its acquisition by Entertaining at Home.

Update: The Birmingham News reports 29 jobs were eliminated, leaving 41 on the payroll.

The Birmingham-based Southern Living at Home sells housewares through Tupperware-style parties, as part of Southern Progress Corporation. Departing employees will receive severance packages from Time Inc., not from the new corporate owner.

“The future looks extremely bright for us this fall as the contraction in our industry ends and we begin to transition to a period of expansion,” wrote Bill Shaw, president of Entertaining at Home, in an e-mail to staff members last week. “Our goal is to build a strong business with sustainable growth that creates jobs and we look forward to accomplishing that in the near future.”

The 30 29 laid-off employees comes on the heels of Southern Progress’ shutdown of Southern Accents magazine this month, putting 20 employees out of work.

The complete text of the e-mail …

From: Bill Shaw
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 2:45 PM
Subject: Email to all employees

When we acquired Southern Living At Home we were very open about the need to right-size the cost of infrastructure to match the size of revenue expected in 2009. We talked about combining two infrastructures into one more cost effective organization by eliminating jobs that were redundant, identifying jobs that would be required only during the integration transition and finally securing jobs that would be needed long-term. This has been an extremely difficult process for everyone involved, especially those of you that have waited patiently for us to complete our work. These decisions are the most difficult we’ve ever been required to make and we wanted to take as much time as possible to ensure we got it right. These decisions, as difficult as they may be are essential to immediately return us to stability and position us for growth. I’m deeply saddened by the reality that this Thursday we will be releasing a group of extraordinarily talented individuals into a difficult employment market. My consolation is knowing how obviously valuable these people will be to prospective new employers and that our Nation is beginning its economic recovery. In addition to the severance packages we will be awarding, I want every discharged employee to know that they can list me personally as a reference and I will commit to return all calls to prospective employers to ensure they understand the circumstances of the termination and how highly regarded each person is to our management.

Also, late this week we will sit down with the remaining employees to discuss the status of their continued employment so they can plan for their future. All remaining employees will have until the close of business on Monday, August 31, to submit resignations and receive their Time, Inc. equivalent severance package. If you choose to go forward and then decide to leave our employment voluntarily after September 1, 2009, you will not be eligible for a severance. Should your jobs be eliminated during the first year of our ownership of the company, either as part of a transitional layoff or for some other reason other than with cause, you will be eligible for the same Time, Inc. equivalent severance package.

There is a clear path to success with Southern Living at Home and our new combined business. The future looks extremely bright for us this fall as the contraction in our industry ends and we begin to transition to a period of expansion. Our goal is to build a strong business with sustainable growth that creates jobs and we look forward to accomplishing that in the near future.


Bill Shaw

Southern Living at Home sold to Wisconsin-based Entertaining at Home

southern-living-at-homeSpeaking of Southern Progress’ rapid shrinking, parent company Time Inc. has sold Birmingham-based Southern Living at Home to a Wisconsin firm, Entertaining at Home. Time had put the company up for sale in January.

A spinoff of the magazine, Southern Living at Home sells housewares through Tupperware-style parties. Bill Shaw helped launch the venture in 2001 and also helped create what would eventually become Entertaining at Home.

In a letter to consultants and sales agents, Shaw wrote:

“We will be one company for a while with two divisions separated only by name and product assortment. The simple truth is we need each other, and together we can once again lead an industry with an unrelenting commitment to excellence.”

Source: Birmingham News: “Southern Accents magazine closed by Time Inc., cutting 20 jobs in Birmingham”

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Southern Accents shuts down

Southern Progress drops second magazine in nine months

Southern Accents coverTime Inc. closed Birmingham-based magazine Southern Accents today, but plans on continuing the site SouthernAccents.com. No word as to what will happen to the employees of the magazine.

Southern Accents is the second Southern Progress magazine to fold in nine months, following Cottage Living’s demise in November. Ad revenue for Southern Accents dropped a whopping 32.1 percent from the first six months of 2008 to the same period of this year.

Update: Southern Accents’ 20 employees are laid off, though editor-in-chief Karen Carroll could stay on with Southern Progress in another capacity. Also, executive vice president Sylvia Auton came from New York to deliver the news to staff in person.

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EXCLUSIVE: Magazine ad sales: Southern Progress loses 16.9 percent

Southern Progress magazine 2009 ad sales

Magazine ad sales for saw declines for all five Southern Progress titles comparing the first halves of 2008 and 2009, according to figures from the Magazine Publishers of America. The Birmingham-based titles — Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Health, Southern Accents and Southern Living — all saw drops in ad revenue from 8 percent (Health) to 32.1 percent (Southern Accents).

First quarter comparisons weren’t nearly as dire for Cooking Light and Southern Living, but Southern Accents’ ad sales performance has weakened in the second quarter. Southern Progress magazines lost 16.9 percent in ad revenues, earning $209 million so far in 2009.

Meanwhile, another Birmingham-based magazine, Hoffman Media’s Cooking With Paula Deen, had a 3.2 percent increase in ad sales comparing the first halves of 2008 and 2009.

U.S. magazines lost 21 percent in ad sales overall during the first half of 2009.

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EXCLUSIVE: Southern Living lays off editorial staffers

Southern LivingMedia of Birmingham has learned that Birmingham-based Southern Living has laid off five to seven staff members today on the editorial side of the magazine, including employees in the food, travel, home, art and photo departments. The cuts leave about 85 staff members in place in editorial.

The magazine lost 26.9 percent in ad sales comparing the first quarter of 2008 and 2009.

Southern Progress Corporation, which publishes Southern Living, shed 200 people in the last quarter of 2008, reducing its staff in Birmingham to 500 employees. It also closed Cottage Living magazine.

Unlike the previous rounds, we’ve heard that supervisors informed laid-off employees to pack and leave the building by 5 p.m. today, rather than the two to four weeks transition time given to eliminated employees. No word on whether they were offered severance packages.

Earlier this week, the Birmingham News reduced salaries and cut part-time positions.

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Update 6/9/09: After laying off a Homes staffer on Friday, Southern Living posted an opening for an assistant homes editor just four days later (June 9): [It appears the job listing was taken down shortly after discovery by magazine employees.]

Job Title
Assistant Homes Editor – Southern Living

TimeWarner Division
Time Inc.


United States – Alabama – Birmingham

Requisition #

Position Type
Full Time

Posting Job Description

Southern Living is seeking an assistant editor to help produce stories and write for the Homes section.

Duties: Emphasis on writing and packaging our monthly homes line-up with a fresh voice that reaches out to a younger reader. Will also coordinate photography with photographers and stylists. Attend monthly story conferences, previews, and issue reviews. Develop a strong network of homes and/or garden contacts around the South. Stay abreast of homes topics and trends.

Requirements: 3-5 years experience at a lifestyle title or equivalent with top-notch writing, editing, and design skills. Ideal candidates will possess a four-year degree in English, Art, design or other related field. Hands-on experience in interior design or architecture a plus. Should have strong organizational skills. High energy, flexibility, and an ability to work as part of a creative team a must.

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Update 7/8/09: The ad returns a month later. The wording is exactly the same, except for the title, assistant/associate homes editor (instead of associate homes editor). Looks like the magazine is bargain hunting …

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Magazine ad sales: Southern Progress slumps, Hoffman gains

cooking with paula deen cover

Magazines at Birmingham-based Southern Progress Corporation saw big drops in ad sales comparing the first quarter of 2008 and 2009:

  • -28.9 percent: Southern Accents
  • -26.9 percent: Southern Living
  • -11.4 percent: Cooking Light

But Hoffman Media saw an increase in ad sales during the same quarter for one magazine:

  • +14.7 percent: Cooking With Paula Deen

U.S. magazines lost 20.6 percent in ad sales overall during the first quarter.

30 laid off at Southern Progress; top executives retire

Time Inc. Layoffs Hit Southern Progress Unit

The cuts that have been rumored for weeks at Time Inc. are starting to become reality. About 30 people were laid off Oct. 22 at the company’s Southern Progress Corp. unit, which publishes seven titles including Southern Living, Cottage Living, Cooking Light and Health.

The layoffs, representing 3 percent of SPC, were limited to the unit’s seven print magazines and were spread across business and editorial. Southern Progress’ digital and books units were not affected.

Time Inc. says Southern Progress CEO Angelillo, other execs have retired

Southern Progress Corp. Chief Executive Tom Angelillo and three other top executives have retired today, according to parent company Time Inc.

Other retirees are group publisher Scott Sheppard, editorial director Jeanetta Corbett Keller and administrative vice president Lane Schmitt.

New York-based Time announced no replacements.