Yahoo is closing its digital magazines in an array of categories like food, health, and real estate. The move has resulted in dozens of layoffs and highlights CEO Marissa Mayer’s failure to establish Yahoo as a premium content destination.
“It’s kind of a blood bath over here,” one employee who was laid off told The New York Times. “Only a handful of people are staying.”
The magazines were part of a costly gamble by Mayer to raise the profile of Yahoo’s content, along with hiring big names like Katie Couric. But their failure is another example of how Yahoo (and similar digital properties) lack the ability to compete in the increasingly stratified world of digital media.
L2’s Intelligence Report: Media Winners and Losers categorizes Yahoo as a “Middle Class” media brand, without either the premium content of Luxury winner The New York Times or the scale of Mass Market success BuzzFeed.
The study suggests that content is not the most strategic area of investment for Middle Class media brands. Rather, acquisition by a larger entity – the way AOL was bought by Verizon – may offer the best chance for survival. With Verizon currently exploring a similar bid for Yahoo, such an acquisition could be the best option for the media company’s future.