Conde Nast May Whack Some More

Conde Nast staffers are bracing for another S.I. Newhouse “January surprise.”

NY Post: According to sources, the trouble spots are rumoured to include Sarah Chubb’s CondéNet Web operation, which has already absorbed year-end cuts with the shutdown of flip.com and other staff cuts within the online unit.

“Digital accounts for only 3 per cent of their total revenue,” said one knowledgeable executive. “They don’t make a penny on digital – and they never have…”

Many fear the reins will be further tightened next year, especially since most magazine publishers are expecting double-digit revenue declines. The hit to Condé’s top line could be particularly severe given its reliance on luxury ads. One source said Condé’s first-quarter revenue could be down as much as 30 per cent.

In 2008, aside from start-up magazines, Golf World, a relatively small weekly, and parenting title Cookie were the only ones in the empire to post ad-page gains. Golf World was up 5 per cent this year, while Cookie rose 10 per cent, according to year-end numbers from Media Industry Newsletter.

The embattled Condé Nast Portfolio also was up in ad pages this year, but the comparisons are complicated by the magazine going monthly in September after publishing sporadically before then. Condé has since decided to publish just 10 issues a year instead of 12.

Vogue, the biggest money maker in the company, had a poor year, sliding 9.6 per cent in the ad-page count to 2,893.

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