Condé Nast is reeling more than its competitors, as luxury-goods retailers hoard their ad dollars. While the industry is down 24% in ad pages so far in the first quarter, many of
Condé's venerable titles are down 30%. Start-up mag Portfolio is down a staggering 60%, while Wired is off 57%.
For the first time in more than a decade, the
privately run company led by Chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. and CEO Charles Townsend could be awash in red ink. Rival executives say Condé is having the worst year of any publisher and that recent
cuts of 5% each on expenses and staffing should have been 20%. Much of the problem rests with Condé's policy of never discounting off the rate card, say industry experts.
Meanwhile, David Carey, a group president, has been quietly adding responsibility for Condé Nast Traveler and The New Yorker While Carey's expanded role is seen as a way to try to impart some of his insight and expertise, it also broadens him beyond the magazines in his group that are struggling. He already had Wired, Portfolio and the golfing titles.