Four months after buying Lonely Planet from BBC Worldwide, new owner NC2 Media will announce staff reductions and structural changes as soon as this week, Skift has learned. The changes involve layoffs across existing offices in Melbourne, London, and Oakland. They are expected to hit the Melbourne office the hardest, both due to the large staff size and the higher cost of maintaining an office in Australia.
For an update, please see: Statement from Lonely Planet Regarding Staff Cuts and Reorganization
The changes also involve reorganizing the travel media brand around digital products as print continues to be challenged, as well as shifting digital roles from Melbourne to Nashville, TN and centralizing most editing and commissioning of content in the London office.
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Since buying Lonely Planet in March NC2 Media has revealed little of its intentions, either externally or internally. That uncertainty hasn’t done wonders for it: Staffers we have spoken to tell us that the morale has plummeted as people play wait-and-see, and some have jumped ship to other tech and content companies.
There has also been a significant amount of internal griping about the recently installed CTO Gus Balbontin. One Lonely Planet staffer told Skift, “A lot of us worry for the future of the LP brand with him as an executive.”
Recently the Lonely Planet site did a complete redesign of its country and region pages, to give them a more contemporary grid-based design, and its popular Thorn Tree Forum is being rebuilt from the ground up, after a controversy late last year that BBC Worldwide leadership said was about inappropriate content and inadequate moderation of it.