It's shaping up to be a very rough season for the media industry. On Wednesday, Complex Media became the latest publication to announce that it will cease its print edition, according to a report by Billboard.
Internal sources indicate the bulk of layoffs hit the magazine's art, marketing and sales departments; cuts also hit the editorial staff, including Kristen Yoonsoo Kim and news editor Ian Servantes. The December 2016/January 2017 issue of Complex, which debuted in 2002, will be the last print edition, and features Sofia Richie and Pusha T on its covers. In 2015, Hearst invested $21 million in the company; in April, Complex Media was acquired by Hearst and Verizon in an equal 50-50 ownership deal reportedly worth $250 to $300 million. Hearst and Verizon then rolled the brand into Complex Networks, with a heavy focus on online video — which seems to be the reason for the cancellation of print and layoffs.
"As Complex embarks on a rapid expansion of premium video creation across the company’s networks and with a growing list of distribution partners, the company is reallocating certain positions to address its content needs," Complex says in a release to Billboard. "We're deeply committed to the ongoing evolution of our brand and our long-term plan to be a leader in digital video entertainment. While we're reducing staff in some areas, we plan to increase to meet our needs in others."
Earlier in December, Hearst announced plans to combine editorial teams of five of its titles; in October, Condé Nast also revealed plans to combine resources across five fields in its greatest restructuring to date. In the past month alone, layoffs hit W magazine; Teen Vogue unveiled plans to reduce print publications to a quarterly schedule; and Self announced it would cease print publication altogether.
We have reached out to Complex for comment and will update with any further information.