Gütersloh media group: Bertelsmann cuts 700 Gruner + Jahr jobs

Status: 07.02.2023 1:15 p.m

The media group Bertelsmann and its subsidiary RTL want to discontinue or sell a total of 23 magazine titles from the traditional Hamburg publisher Gruner + Jahr. Hundreds of jobs will be lost. Core brands such as “Stern”, “Geo” and “Brigitte” will remain.

After the merger with the TV broadcaster RTL, numerous magazines are to be discontinued at the traditional Hamburg publisher Gruner + Jahr. Flagships such as “Stern”, “Geo”, “Brigitte” and “Capital” should be continued, said the television subsidiary of the Bertelsmann media group. However, many other magazines, including offshoots of the main issues, are to be discontinued, sold or only published digitally.

Management plans to cut around 500 jobs. A further 200 jobs are to be eliminated through sales. With a total of around 700 jobs cut, more than one in three of the 1,900 full-time jobs in the magazine segment would be affected. The vast majority of the job cuts will affect Hamburg and are not planned in the editorial area, but in administrative areas, it said.

Bertelsmann also wants to cut jobs at RTL Germany. At the location of the television station in Cologne, a total of 300 additional jobs would be lost over the next three years, a spokesman for the Evangelical Press Service said. If possible, this should be done without redundancies. “We are confident that this will be possible through alternatives such as fluctuation and partial retirement.”

CEO Rabe informs employees

RTL boss Thomas Rabe informed the staff at the publishing house’s headquarters on Hamburg’s Baumwall about his plans. “We have decided to focus on the core brands and to develop them further with investments of around 80 million euros until 2025,” explained the manager.

Now, together with the employee representatives, socially acceptable solutions are to be developed for the employees concerned.

Possible sale of “Art”, “Business Punk” and “PM”

Specifically, the plans look like this: The 13 brands “Stern”, “Geo”, “Capital”, “Stern Crime”, “Brigitte”, “Gala”, “Schöner Wohnen”, “Houses”, “Couch”, “Geolino “, “Geolino mini” and the digital areas of “Eltern” and “Chefkoch” remain in the portfolio. According to the company, they account for around 70 percent of sales. Investments of around 80 million euros are planned by 2025.

All other magazine titles will be discontinued or sold. For example, RTL sees no future for offshoots of core brands such as “Geo Era” and “Geo Knowledge”, “Brigitte Woman” and “View”. The magazines “Guido” about the designer Guido Maria Kretschmer and “Barbara” about the TV presenter Barbara Schöneberger are also discontinued. There are 23 titles in total. RTL is considering a sale for the five brands “Business Punk”, “Art”, “PM”, “Beef!” and “salon”.

“No exploratory talks”

Rabe, who is also Bertelsmann boss, told the dpa news agency: “There had been expressions of interest – verbally and in writing. But there were no exploratory or sales talks, let alone offers.”

Now you want to talk to the works council and the employees first. “Then we will take our time to explore the market over the next few weeks and see who is really interested in which title and in what order of time we will release the titles,” said Rabe.

Once the largest magazine publisher in Europe

RTL Deutschland, headquartered in Cologne, had integrated the German magazine division of the Hamburg publishing house in 2022 and was hoping for synergies between the two Bertelsmann subsidiaries. But the expectations associated with the plans of CEO Rabe were not fulfilled. In the past few months, RTL had checked the magazine portfolio according to its own statements. Top managers from Gütersloh and Cologne took a close look at all the publishing titles and recommended what should be kept and what should possibly be sold.

Employees and trade unionists had protested against a possible sale of the Hamburg publishing house’s titles. In its heyday, Gruner + Jahr was the largest magazine publisher in Europe and was one of the most influential media houses in Germany for decades.

Gruner + Jahr magazines: RTL cuts around 700 jobs

Carsten Schabosky, WDR, February 7, 2023 at 10:55 a.m

source site