Magazine and media group Future Network is to axe 350 staff and close or sell twenty of its 130 magazines (including six in the US) in what it calls a “streamlining” operation.

The company, whose main presence in the US is Imagine Media, will also reduce its internet activities with the closure of five sites. In addition, it is conducting an internal restructuring exercise which it estimates will cost up to £5 million, the same amount it expects to save in investment.

Future said that the retrenchment reflected its need to reduce operating costs, reduce debt, streamline its titles and increase profitability. Explained chief executive Greg Ingham: “Following a prolonged period of growth, Future has recently faced much tougher market conditions. In response we are refocusing our activities around the high-passion specialist consumer audiences we have built the business on.”

The group has suffered from disappointing sales, twice issuing profit warnings in recent months [WAMN: 14-Nov-00; 05-Jan-01]. This has also been exacerbated by distribution problems of Sony’s games console Playstation 2, the eponymous magazine of which is published by Future.

The future of the company’s American new economy magazine Business 2.0, which has suffered in the wake of the downturn in technology ads, is uncertain.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline; CampaignLive (UK)