Memo Pad: Quiet Makeover... Party Pooper... Nasty Business...

While some magazines trumpet a redesign or change in appearance, Lucky has been conducting a quiet evolution on its cover and inside pages since the August 2006 issue.

NASTY BUSINESS: Just two months into his role as president of Time Inc.'s Business and Financial Network, Vivek Shah is said to be taking a hard look at the group's much-maligned structure, which merged the sales teams of Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Money, Business 2.0 and Several sources said Shah is looking at reemphasizing separate brands and possibly restoring vertical selling structures to the magazines, with sales teams and publishers dedicated to each title. And one source contended Time Inc. is looking outside the company for a group-level executive with strong business contacts who would oversee print sales. (Shah was previously president of the unit's digital publishing division.) It is unclear how a reorganization would affect Michael Federle and Michael Dukmejian, formerly publishers of Fortune and Money, respectively, and group publishers under the current arrangement. A spokeswoman for the group declined to comment on any reorganization plans.

Despite the uncertain future, when it comes to business media, it appears some things never change — especially as Condé Nast Portfolio elbows its way into the field. Word recently rippled through the sector that Forbes was allegedly misleading media buyers by not breaking out the numbers for ForbesLife, its six-times-a-year lifestyle magazine that is polybagged with the fortnightly. That proved untrue: in terms of ad pages, ForbesLife is manifestly counted as a supplement, and it doesn't get its own circulation figures on the ABC statement because it isn't distributed separately.

The rumor was traced back to Shah. A spokeswoman for Time Inc.'s business and finance group confirmed Shah had "mentioned Forbes" in a conversation with a senior media buyer, but only to question the Publishers Information Bureau ad page metric as "an irrelevant measure of how our business is going," given that it doesn't represent Internet sales. Shah has reason to make that point. While CNNMoney is broadly heralded as a success, Fortune's ad pages were down 17.5 percent in the first half of the year, and in the same period, Money's pages declined 25.7 percent, Fortune Small Business' by 18.2 percent and Business 2.0's by 34.1 percent. (Forbes posted a decline of 3.4 percent in pages but reported a revenue rise of 8.8 percent). — Irin Carmon
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