Three magazines axed and up to 50 jobs to go at VNU

Bucknor: "no upturn in 2002"

 Journalists at VNU Business Publications have been hit by up to 50 job losses and the closure of three magazines – PC Magazine, What PC? and Network News.

Managing director Brin Bucknor told Press Gazette he could not put an exact figure on how many journalists would be affected but said it could be up to 50.

"Like any business we aim to produce profitable titles and are reorganising for the upturn when it comes – and it won’t be for a while. It certainly won’t be in 2002 and I don’t see it happening for most of 2003," he said.

Bucknor stressed the cuts were purely due to economic and market conditions. "It doesn’t reflect on any of the people working on the titles. They  have been superb. We do see value in the brands which we will be looking to extend online rather than killing them off totally."

Of the IT titles VNU acquired from Ziff Davis in 2000 only one now remains, IT Week. The acquisition, which was worth an estimated £40m, itself resulted in job losses, as did the  £2.5m acquisition of CMP in 1999. That led to 75 redundancies and four magazine closures.

Sources said What PC? had been squeezed out by the success of the VNU consumer title Computeractive. "What PC? has been rumoured to be closing for years but it was kept open,  partly as a strategic move to stop anyone else launching against Computeractive," an insider said.

It is understood that staff were given no prior warning of the cuts by management. "They are all pretty shocked. The last round of job cuts was so massive they thought this would be it," a source said.

Staff are now in a consultation period due to last 30 days.


By Ruth Addicott

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