70 editorial staff laid off at Hong Kong's Sudden Weekly entertainment magazine

Next Media wields the axe at entertainment weekly and combines 3 other publications

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2015, 6:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 September, 2015, 10:36pm

Seventy Sudden Weekly editorial staff were laid off yesterday with Next Media set to close the entertainment magazine next month and combine three other publications to save costs.

The move came less than a week after the group began cutting jobs at its flagship publication Next Magazine with the aim of slashing the workforce by half within two months.

Sudden Weekly chief executive officer Chiu Wai-kin said last night the final print and online issues of the 20-year-old magazine would appear on August 7.

Eat And Travel Weekly and fashion magazine ME!, both Sudden Weekly supplements, will combine with Next Magazine from August 16.

Chiu said a shrinking advertising market had led to deficits.

Next Media Trade Union said it was "extremely distressed" by the decision, and colleagues were angry because they had found out through news reports.

Union chairman Alvin Wong Wai-chun said it would meet the group's chief executive for the print media division, Ip Yut-kin, today and seek compensation for sacked staff. It said more than 100 members in the Next group had been laid off since Friday.

Meanwhile, the city's oldest Chinese-language newspaper, Sing Pao Daily News, has yet to resume production of its print edition. Gu Zhuoheng, chairman of parent company Sing Pao Media, said last week he would inject HK$5 million to finance the daily. But Tiffany Wong Wing-sze of KPMG, one of the two provisional liquidators, said the money had not materialised.

Apart from Gu, an unnamed white knight had also expressed interest, Wong said. Sing Pao ceased printing last Friday after it failed to pay the printing fee. Staff said they would continue to operate its website and mobile app.