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STAYING CLOSE TO HOME: Yet another sign the recession is encouraging magazines to cut back: Condé Nast publishers were informed last week that the annual publishers’ meeting will be held in New York this year instead of Florida, a spokeswoman confirmed. Condé Nast has shuttled executives to Florida for the past few years to various resorts, where top management have given awards to standout publishers for their achievements during the year at a lavish dinner. This year’s meeting was scheduled to be at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. According to one insider, executives were sent a save the date about the Florida meeting in July.
On Tuesday morning, Condé Nast top brass mentioned to executives that the meeting would be moved, and by Friday morning, an events staffer sent a short e-mail to publishers informing them the meeting will be held Jan. 26 and 27 in New York, with a dinner to be held on the 26th. Details on the location and the dinner weren’t included, but executives assumed the meeting would be held at the 4 Times Square headquarters. As for who would be winning one of the coveted Publisher of the Year awards, insiders believe it would be tough to assess; few publishers are doing gangbusters business in the current ad climate, with some of the larger Condé titles posting near double-digit declines in ad pages into the fourth quarter.
Tuesday’s publishers’ meeting was an example of how most of the magazine industry is looking to cut costs in the current crunch. For one, Condé’s senior executives usually hold a dinner for the publishers the night before the New York-based meetings, which happen almost once a quarter. It was scheduled to be at Scarpetta Monday night, but was canceled, according to a source. Also at the meeting, as reported by the New York Observer, chief executive officer Chuck Townsend encouraged publishers not to fill open positions.
Meanwhile, over at rival Hearst Magazines, New York magazine’s Daily Intel reported Friday afternoon that the company canceled its annual Christmas party, held at the Hearst Tower. A Hearst spokeswoman said, “Hearst Magazines believes our employees will understand our recent decision to forgo a company-wide holiday party this year. Because of the current economic climate, we imagine many companies across various industries will be doing the same.” — Stephanie D. Smith