Conde Nast, magazine publisher of the gods, is in trouble. Many of its most famous magazines are losing critical amounts of advertising. How bad are things? So bad that Conde is actually making some changes!
Si Newhouse, the big boss of Conde's parent company, has always been perceived as having a limitless pile of money to subsidize unprofitable magazines. He doesn't. The company has been in belt-tightening mode for more than a year now, and the weak publications are getting killed with little compunction. The days of unending cash flow into fancy, money-losing magazines being used as vanity brands are over. The fundamental problem, as David Carr notes:
Donald Newhouse, 78, who oversees the newspapers, and Si Newhouse, 80, who runs the magazines, each have been appraised at $8 billion by Forbes. But people who know the pair say that given their age, they are concerned about making sure they hand over a company that is healthy and profitable.
The company has traditionally used its newspapers to mint money that was then lavished on the magazines - "Don makes it and Si spends it," as the saying went
But now newspapers no longer make money! So there is no money to be lavished upon anything. Everybody has to pitch in and cut back! At the New Yorker—Conde's best magazine and one of its worst at pulling in ads, currently—millionaire editor David Remnick and his reporters were staying with friends in DC for the inauguration, rather than hotels. To save money, like normals! (They're also extending the New Yorker Festival to ten days this year, which should bring in some extra cash).
That's kind of nice and inspiring. Less inspiring is Vanity Fair, which is actually re-using a 2007 Obama cover photo for its latest cover. That is just incredibly cheap, for one of America's most prestigious magazines. Yea, they surely had access issues. But come on. They could have gotten any number of celebrities to pose for their cover. If Obama is the only man that can sell magazines now, VF's entire model is fucked anyhow. Annie Leibovitz is giving way to Photoshopped stock pictures. Not good.
But at least they're cutting costs. The one not getting with the program: Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman, who reportedly demanded to fly to Davos first class. Some things never change.
(We mean Joanne Lipman screwing up.) [Pic via]