July 18, 2016 Last Updated 9:48 am

Hearst Magazines president David Carey expresses concern for second half of the year

The publisher will be one of many tightening budgets as fears grow that 2016 will a less than stellar year for publishing

If you read the trade journals which cover the magazine industry you might think that some of the big title magazine publishers are having a banner year. Press release after press release tout big gains in web traffic, or ‘largest issue ever’ notices, though I suppose no one can blame them for putting a smiley face on things as few like to announce bad news.

cosmo-aug-16Late last week, one of the major publishers that remain private, Hearst (Condé Nast is also), admitted to WWD that they are “tightening budgets across the board.”

“We’ve had a great first half following a great 2014 and 2015,” Hearst Magazines president David Carey told WWD. “But we’re watching the state of American retail with some concern. We are asking our teams to be especially careful about their discretionary spending.”

Hearst, being private, will not do much to make a splash, so don’t expect big layoffs, that is not their style, and as Carey told WWD, “We’ve had no broad-based layoffs at Hearst during my time.” But a hiring freeze and not filling open positions is a more likely solution.

Hearst’s moves are in line with what I have been hearing elsewhere. Many of the big publicly owned publishers will be reporting their Q2 earnings in the next several weeks, and indications are that some of the reports could be ugly. tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, hasn’t even set the date for their report yet (though the stock continues to inexplicably climb up towards $15 a share).

(Disclosure: I used to work for Hearst, but not on the magazine side, but instead at their Los Angeles newspaper – since shuttered.)

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