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WHAT’S COMING?: As Condé Nast editors have left their offices to man the front rows at New York Fashion Week, so, too, have the consultants at McKinsey & Co. The outside analysts the company hired in July to, as chief executive officer Charles Townsend described, “develop new perspectives on optimizing our approach to business, growing revenues and enhancing our brand assets,” have finished their observations within 4 Times Square, where they completed a deep analysis of operations at Vogue and Condé Nast Traveler and used both titles as a model to apply to other magazines at the company. The consultants are continuing to meet with Condé Nast executives, however, and are expected to have a finalized report by next week.
But before any recommendations from McKinsey even arrive, editors and publishers are this week receiving word from chief operating officer John Bellando that their budgets for next year will be significantly reduced. According to insiders, the company aims to cut 20 to 30 percent from each title’s 2010 budget, with the individual editors and publishers tasked to trim those numbers by reducing headcount, expenses, travel and other expenditures. Such cuts will follow a 5 percent reduction in headcount and spending in November, but since that time, Condé Nast has lost a third of its ad paging in the crippling ad recession.
Condé Nast employees are understandably anxious to find out how the budget cuts will be made. Most speculate a number of magazines will change their frequencies; for example, by dropping to 10 issues a year from 12. As for closures, chatter of the fate of several of the poorer-performing magazines has quieted down. Just another angst-filled two weeks left until October, when insiders expect Condé Nast top brass to begin implementing the changes. A Condé Nast spokeswoman declined to comment. — Stephanie D. Smith