As publishers struggle to maintain margins in the throes of the global advertising recession, the long-haul prospects of seeing their web activities emerge from the red are being jettisoned.

The latest UK majors to retrench on e-publishing are Emap and IPC Media, the latter currently in process of ingestion by AOL Time Warner.

Emap has announced the closure of its Digital Division and will fold its operations into other brand groups, while IPC is to axe the web version of its ladmag Loaded, along with women's lifestyle service and TV listings site

IPC chief executive Sly Bailey insists that the retrenchment reflects a change in the media landscape rather than a change in ownership: “Two years ago, investment and confidence levels in the internet were over-inflated. Now, the reality is very different and media organisations are adopting greater commercial realism in their plans.”

At Emap, head of the Digital Division, Paul Keenan, has transferred to the chief executive’s role at Emap Consumer Media; and former DD head of strategy Dharmash Mistry will oversee the absorption of the division’s operations into other brand units.

News sources: Financial Times; CampaignLive (UK)