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Posts Tagged ‘Si Newhouse’

Struggling Condé Nast Focuses On Web Sales

condenet.jpgCondé Nast has been navigating a dark and stormy terrain in the past several weeks with the closing of four magazines, the layoffs of hundreds of employees, and no end in sight for the once-venerable Si Newhouse-led powerhouse.

But in between all the bad news, the company’s digital arm, Condé Nast Digital, has been working to organizes its magazines’ Web sites into a cohesive structure. Today’s announcement of Condé Digital’s ad sales overhaul into five different brands proves that the company is finally in the works to revamp their digital presence.

“Under the new sales structure, three advertising directors who are responsible for overseeing revenue for specific brands will report to the newly named publisher, Josh Stinchcomb,” the company said. “Each of Condé Nast Digital’s 26 online brands will now fall into one of the five categories, which are fashion and beauty; food, well-being and travel; bridal; technology; and culture and thought leader. In addition, Alice McKown has been named executive director of marketing, enabling marketing to provide better service to the same five categories.”

Full press release after the jump.

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McKinsey Wraps Up At Condé Nast

4timessquare.jpgToday we have another dispatch about McKinsey’s work at Condé Nast from The New York Observer‘s John Koblin.

Koblin, who has been reporting on McKinsey’s work throughout the summer, reports that the consulting company is ready to wrap up its investigation of the state of Condé’s business and will present their findings to the company’s executives soon:

The Observer has learned that McKinsey consultants are winding down their tour of Condé Nast, and will be ready to submit their final recommendations to chairman Si Newhouse and CEO Chuck Townsend in the coming weeks. One source said that recommendations could begin as early as Sept. 16, but another well-placed source said that the ‘totality of their recommendations’ will be given at all once, and that they would come down in the next two to three weeks.”

Although the consultants have taken a close look at Vogue and Condé Nast Traveler Koblin suggests that the magazines most in danger of being designated by McKinsey as “frequency reductions” are epicurean titles Gourmet and Bon Appetit and men’s mags GQ and Details.

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First On FBNY: More Cuts At Condé? (With Updates)

new yorker.pngA FishbowlNY tipster tells us there were layoffs at The New Yorker yesterday, the same day the New York Observer featured a story hinting that the magazine would be spared from the Condé Nast cuts.

“Two well-placed sources said that Condé Nast’s chairman, Si Newhouse, reached out to [New Yorker editor David] Remnick shortly after the McKinsey announcement was made and told him not to worry about anything — the magazine would be just fine, and neither McKinsey nor company executives would be mucking with his editorial costs,” the Observer‘s John Koblin reported.

FBNY has reached out to New Yorker‘s publicists, and we’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE: A New Yorker publicist has confirmed to FBNY that three of the magazine’s staffers on the business side were let go yesterday.

After doing some more digging, we have heard that the cuts were not McKinsey related. People at the New Yorker are maintaining the party line that Koblin referred to in his article: the editorial budget for the New Yorker will most likely remain untouched throughout the McKinsey process.

However, Koblin may have gotten one thing wrong: we’ve heard that Graydon Carter frequently eats in the cafeteria at 4 Times Square, and has for years.

Heard anything? Send us an email, leave an anonymous tip or a comment if you have any information.

Related: Mourning The Loss Of Condé Nast’s “Gilded Age”

More Trouble At Condé: September Ad Pages Drop

We just can’t escape the Condé Nast news today. The New York Observer is reporting that the Si Newhouse-run magazine publishing house saw September ad pages decline by 37 percent company-wide, a drop of 1,680 pages. This is depressing news because September is typically the month to top all other months in terms of ad page numbers, particularly in the fashion magazine segment where designers display the latest trends for fall.

But Condé’s fashion bible Vogue suffered mightily for September, losing 427 pages, down 36 percent from last year. W is down 53 percent, Allure and Gourmet are each down 51 percent and Self‘s ad pages declined 50 percent, according to the Observer. Keep in mind, these numbers do not factor in the loss of the Fashion Rocks supplement that the company abandoned after last year. (Here’s a table of the comparable ad pages without Fashion Rocks factored in.)

Either way you slice it: ouch.

Earlier: Condé Nast Update

Author & Columnist Michael M. Thomas Talks Condé Nast On The Menu: “There Are Problems That You Can’t Consult Your Way Out Of”

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Today on the media- bistro.com Morning Media Menu podcast, hosts Jason Boog of GalleyCat and AgencySpy‘s Matt Van Hoven were joined by novelist and newspaper columnist Michael M. Thomas to talk the morning’s media headlines.

The first topic tackled was the news that magazine publisher Condé Nast had hired consulting company McKinsey & Co..

“What management consulting companies are there to do is to protect the people…who hired them,” Thomas said. “When I heard that Condé Nast had hired McKinsey, I have to say, based on my own experience…I am both surprised and not optimistic. Unless McKinsey can deploy literally millions of consultants around the country to get people to start reading newspapers again, I can’t see what good they would do at a creative outfit like Condé Nast.”

According to Thomas, Condé was once a thriving company thanks to the “healthy cash flow” produced by the newspaper side, which was then invested into Condé’s popular magazines. “Si Newhouse is undoubtedly some kind of genius when it comes to magazine publishing,” Thomas said.

However, as the newspaper industry started to fail, Condé faltered, closing a handful of titles in the past year — including business mag Portfolio, Domino and Men’s Vogue — and cutting costs, and staff, across the board. But Thomas said he doesn’t think McKinsey will be able to do much more than dispatch more staffers. “There are just business problems that you can’t consult your way out of,” he said.

Also discussed: the future of the book industry and Thomas’s book, “Love & Money.” “There’s nothing in this book that couldn’t happen and, in some cases, came very close to happening,” he said.

You can listen to all the past podcasts at BlogTalkRadio.com/mediabistro and call in at 646-929-0321.

With Froelich On The Way Out, Is Page Six Slipping Up?

page six.pngThis morning, we were directed to a fairly standard item on the New York Post‘s Page Six gossip page about Condé Nast chief Si Newhouse.

“Si Newhouse knows how to hold his liquor, according to Graydon Carter,” Page Six said, referring to an article published Sunday in the British pub The Observer. The item then went on to reprint Carter’s quotes about his boss: “One thing you should know about Si — he’s incapable of getting drunk,” and “We’ve double-dated.”

Those quotes sounded familiar, and so did the other ones pulled from the Observer article. The Page Six item goes on:

One former editor tells the newspaper that Newhouse “loves being surrounded by divas and egomaniacs,” recalling how when one editor called another a “[bleep]ing bitch,” Newhouse didn’t mind, responding, “Yes, but she’s our bitch.” Says the ex-editor: “He believes the best will rise and will not be shivved in the back.” Vogue editrix Anna Wintour also bows down to her boss, insisting, “Si is in control, and if you write anything different, you would be 100 percent wrong.”

After some digging, we discovered where we had heard it all before: The Observer article, written by Steve Fishman, is the same one that ran last month in New York magazine. A magazine spokeswoman tells us that writers frequently license their stories for reprinting overseas, although a standard line is usually included within the article recognizing that it was published in New York first. “We’re investigating why that was not the case in this instance,” the New York publicist said.

But if we noticed that the quotes sounded familiar, how could gossip staple Page Six miss the retread quotes? Just one day after Paula Froelich put in her two week notice and already the gossip page is flagging a bit.

Swine Flu Hits Conde Nast As Newhouse Profile Hits Newsstands

nymag.pngThis morning, a warning went out to all of Conde Nast‘s New York employees that an employee on the 12th floor of the company’s 4 Times Square headquarters had tested positive for swine flu. (If you’re hip to Conde HQ you know that floor is where Vogue is housed.)

But since the memo noted that the infected employee is “under a doctor’s care and currently recovering at home,” the media company was probably more worried this morning about the latest New York magazine cover story, which profiled Conde chairman Si Newhouse.

Steve Fishman‘s in-depth profile attempts to get to the heart of Newhouse’s psyche, quoting an anonymous source who calls him “semi-blank,” and asserting that he surrounds himself with superstar editors who represent a part of himself that he can’t express on his own. “In a sense, he’s like a polished surface, and the editors tend to see themselves in him,” Fishman wrote.

And of course Fishman can’t ignore the fact that Conde Nast is in the red despite closing a number of magazines in the past two years, including, most recently, Portfolio. Still, he points out that “The belief around the building is that next year, if the economy recovers, Conde Nast will again turn profitable.” Fishman doesn’t let on if he agrees, but he does mention that there are still rumors of more magazine closings to come. “Which will be next? Wired? Architectural Digest? Does the company really need two food magazines?”

As a former Conde employee ourselves, we did find at least one omission in Fishman’s reporting. His list of shuttered publications — Jane, House & Garden, Men’s Vogue, Golf for Women, Domino and Portfolio — he left out our former home, the men’s wear trade DNR.

Newspapers, Bloat Behind Portfolio‘s Demise?

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Rumors of problems at Portfolio began long before the Conde Nast business magazine folded Monday. Media watchers have been obsessively analyzing Portfolio’s every move since the title launched in April 2007 and much of the criticism has focused on editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman. Observers say Lipman, who came to Portfolio by way of the Wall Street Journal had a troubled relationship with her staff, spent too much money, and didn’t get the Internet. According to others inside the embattled business book, Portfolio’s demise may have also stemmed from poor planning and organization, a missed opportunity with its critically-lauded Web site, and falling newspaper revenues at Conde Nast parent company Advance Publications.

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Conde Taps Time Exec to Head Parade

Minonline is reporting that Conde head Si Newhouse has tapped former Time Inc. executive Jack Haire.

From min: Haire’s 1978-2006 Time Inc. career included 1993-1998 and 1998-2005 stints as Time publisher and Fortune/Money Group president, respectively, and he was Time Inc. executive vp/corporate sales when he left the company in January 2006 following a restructuring by president/ceo Ann Moore.

Lunch: Why So Glum, Anna Wintour & Ralph Lauren?

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It was standing room only at Michael’s today with a head-spinning assortment of movers and mavens doing some serious table-hopping between bites. We were brightened to see there was a dash of celebrating between all the intense conversations that were going on all around. It’s the holidays, remember?

I was lunching today with Gerry Byrne, senior vice president of The Entertainment Group at Nielsen Business Media. One of the truly good guys in the industry, Gerry has had an amazing career in media that started after he served as a United States Marine Corps Officer in Vietnam, when he took a job at The New York Daily News working in business development. You name an important showbiz publication, and chances are Gerry has been at the helm. He was president and CEO of Stagebill, served as group publisher and president of Variety and Daily Variety (and launched the Gotham edition), started Electronic Media (now Television Week) and Crain’s New York Business. He was consulting for Nielsen when they lured him back into corporate life earlier this year with his current gig. “I never expected to be back doing this, but I’m having a great time,” says Gerry. He’s keeping busy overseeing the company’s entertainment properties and exhibitions including The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Backstage, Kirkus Reviews, The Bookseller and expos like ShoWest. Whew!

We had a fascinating conversation about the state of the entertainment and media industry, with Gerry offering some valuable insights. “It’s all about brand management and creating new partnerships,” he told me. “More people than ever are willing to listen to new ideas about partnerships.” That, says Gerry, is good news for everyone willing to acknowledge what’s in the past is gone and it’s a brave new world. So buck up, all you naysayers, put your thinking caps on and get out there and reinvent yourself. Speaking of reinvention, I asked him to weigh in on NBC’s decision to offer Jay Leno a nightly show on their prime time schedule. “They’re protecting their franchise. Jeff Zucker made a dramatic statement.” The “game-changing” move is sure to change the face of television, says Gerry, who noted, “It couldn’t have been done 10 years ago.” Timing is everything, isn’t it?

The scene spilled over into the Garden Room where Today‘s executive producer Jim Bell and David Gregory were seated. The newly-minted host of Meet The Press gave us a big hello and a smile as he made his way to the back, but slipped out early before we could ask him about his new gig. mediabistro.com’s founder Laurel Touby was a few tables away with metacafe’s CEO Erick Hachenburg and SVP Jack Rotherham and Michael A. Vorhaus of Frank N. Magid Associates. So take that, all you strivers — power is where you find it!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. There were plenty of fireworks: Jerry Inzerillo, Paul Grucci and some lively fellows who were celebrating some big news with champagne

2. Judy McGrath and a gent we didn’t recognize…

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong with a trio of interesting — and enterprising — women: Democratic booster Maureen White, Sarah Rosenthal and Cynthia Brill, who told me the Clear Card biz we chatted about some months ago for this very column is going great guns. The brainchild of Cynthia and her husband Steve, ‘The Easy Pass of airports’ designed to help users ‘fly through airport security,’ is now in 21 airports and coming soon (in ’09, she says) to LAX. We’re all for anything that will improve the hellish experience of surviving a stay in that confounding maze.

4. Frank Gifford and Ron Kanecke

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