UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times began another round of buyouts and layoffs extending into August. And all because of what internal sources say is a dramatic shortfall in movie advertising revenue. “Film advertising is down -25% under the projections for this time of year. Display advertising generally is way down at the paper, but the movie ads have declined the most and that’s important because film is the LA Times‘s largest advertising category,” an insider tells me. “In general the movie industry is advertising less in newspapers, but the studios seem especially averse to advertising in the diminished Calendar section which drove out most of the veterans and brought in all these kids with zero insight into Hollywood.” No movie staffers were included in today’s layoffs even if higher-paid journalists were targeted and Calendar has several of the highest paid in its employ. But if the current trend keeps on, who knows?
The LA Times spokeswoman today claims the buyouts/layoffs “were in part a reaction to the overall difficult economic environment as well as a downsizing in select areas of our business in order to add resources in
others as we continue to evolve.” But I’ve chronicled this bad news development on movie ads ever since 2005 when Hollywood studios began rethinking their reliably humongous display ad buys in the major newspapers because those readers are, to quote one mogul, “older and elitist” compared to younger, low-brow filmgoers — so it made no sense to waste the dough.