Sources said People’s recent Lizzo cover was one of its worst-selling in its history.

People is said to still be “profitable” by sources with knowledge, but IAC executives have nevertheless been making aggressive moves to slash costs. Insiders said they are now focused on a litany of problems that have nothing to do with People’s editor change-up. Those include cratering advertising revenue and lower circulation, rising postage rates and a paper shortage.

“The IAC people are not nice. Barry Diller is not nice,” said a source, who noted that new ownership “doesn’t understand” print magazines, all they want to do is “make money.”

The company also closed PeopleTV, the glossy’s struggling broadcast TV show, as exclusively reported by The Post.

The source added that there has been a jarring clash between the corporate cultures of Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith and Diller’s IAC, which is headquartered in New York’s trendy Meatpacking District.

“The Meredith people show up to meetings in Crocs. Their offices have wicker furniture,” the source said. “You cannot turn up to Barry Diller’s Frank Gehry-designed spaceship in Crocs. IAC is like ‘The Matrix.’ There’s no furniture and you’re greeted by people wearing Prada.”

People’s Prince Harry cover dipped below 200,000 sales at the newsstand, sources told The Post.

During the pandemic, People’s advertising revenue halved, according to a source with knowledge. The source said advertising has slumped to about $125 million a year in print with digital advertising bringing in another $125 million.

Nonetheless, according to People’s media kit, the brand has 118 million consumers across print, digital and social media.

Employees began buzzing about the potential demise of People when a handful of publishing and marketing execs left the company after DotDash took the helm. They included People group publisher Carery Witmer and People magazine publisher Cece Ryan, both of whom focused on selling print and digital advertising.

Their departures signaled to many that Dotdash may be following a similar playbook for People as it has with other Meredith publications. Earlier this year, the company killed the print editions of Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, EatingWell, Health, Parents and People en Español.

DotDash Meredith shuttered six print magazines post merger with Meredith, including Eating Well.
Getty Images for EatingWell & IF

At the time, Dotdash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel told staff that the move would help turn the publications into digital-only brands. He also said the move would result in about 200 job cuts.

“We have said from the beginning, buying Meredith was about buying brands, not magazines or websites,” Vogel said in his note. “It is not news to anyone that there has been a pronounced shift in readership and advertising from print to digital, and as a result, for a few important brands, print is no longer serving the brand’s core purpose.”

During the pandemic, the pullback in print readership and advertising has been more pronounced than ever. Oprah’s O Magazine stopped printing in 2020 and women’s magazine Marie Claire ended its print run after 27 years in 2021.

In the last three years, Hearst has reduced the frequencies of magazines like Elle and Cosmopolitan while Condé Nast has lowered the frequencies of glossies Vogue and Vanity Fair amid declines in readership and ad revenue.

Diller with his wife, fashion designer, Diane Von Furstenberg at the Met Gala. Sources said Diller is a shrewd businessman, who is focused on turning Meredith’s brands profitable– even if that means closing print magazines.
Vogel said in February that his company would invest in its 19 remaining print magazines — which include People, Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living — by enhancing paper quality and trimming sizes.

But strategies change quickly in media and critics have whispered that the acquisition of Meredith by IAC, a company known for its digital brands, likely spelled doom for its glossies down the line.

“Barry Diller bought Meredith to sell it,” said one well-placed source. “He always makes them [the brands] more lean and profitable, then he resells it.”
At least Kung Fu Tai Chi is in good company...