Lifestyle magazines Departures and Centurion, which went to high-income holders of American Express platinum and centurion cards, are the latest casualty in the print world as Meredith laid off most of the staff and halted publication of the seven-times-a-year print titles.
The titles were published by Meredith under a deal with American Express, which said it will now take it over and run the mags as digital-only brands.
Said an AmEx spokesperson, “We regularly evolve our premium card offerings and have made the decision to transition the Departures and Centurion US magazine benefits to a new digital-first editorial platform.”
Departures’ May/June, Spring Home + Design issue and the quarterly Spring/Summer Centurion Magazine will be the final print issues in their current form published by Meredith Corporation.
At its peak, source said, Departures pulled in an estimated $50 million a year in revenue. For years, it was published as part of American Express Publishing before its publishing operations were sold to Time Inc. in 2013, which was sold to Meredith in January 2018.
It’s a particularly jolting time for Departures staffers, who only recently learned that their longtime editor-in-chief Richard Story, who left the mag about four years ago, had passed away earlier this month.
“It’s been a tough month for everyone who loved this brand,” said Ed Kelly, the last CEO of AmEx Publishing. “It was the envy of the magazine world for a long time, especially in the luxury field. It was a workhorse and it drove results.”
Group publisher Giulio Capua will stay with Meredith, but most of the rest of the staff, including editor-in-chief Jeffries Blackerby, were let go Thursday. Meredith declined to reveal numbers, but acknowledged that there were layoffs.