Mag Bag: Conde, Amex Cut Back

Conde Nast Portfolio magazineConde, Amex Cut Back

There appears to be no end in sight for cutbacks in the magazine industry. Following big cuts by Time Inc., McGraw Hill, and Wenner during the last few weeks, Conde Nast and American Express Publishing announced their own bad news.

On Thursday, Conde Nast said that Portfolio, its relatively new business title, will reduce its frequency from 12 to 10 yearly issues--a concession to the increasingly adverse ad environment and the economic downturn overall. In the first nine months of 2008, Portfolio's ad pages were up 38.5% to 445 compared to last year--but this positive news is tempered somewhat by the fact that as a new launch, it's building on a small base. Rumors also circulated Thursday afternoon that Conde Nast may be cutting up to one-fifth of Portfolio's staffers, although this remained unconfirmed at press time. Conde is also cutting back Men's Vogue to a twice-yearly publication schedule.

Portfolio launched at a particularly challenging juncture for the business category, as business news consumption migrates to the Internet. Time Inc.'s Business 2.0 folded last year, and in the first nine months of 2008, ad pages fell at most big business titles compared to the same period last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau: BusinessWeek is down 14.6% to 1,316 pages, Entrepreneur is down 6.7% to 800, Forbes is down 16.6% to 1,757, Kiplinger's Personal Finance is down 13.6% to 309, and SmartMoney is down 25.7% to 359.

By the same token, the news isn't all bad: The Economist is up 5.9% to 1,769 pages, Fast Company is up 31.1% to 387, Fortune is up 9% to 1,746, Inc. is up 3.2% to 602, and Money is basically flat with a small 1.1% increase.

Also, American Express Publishing announced Wednesday that it will lay off 22 employees across the company, evenly distributed across the advertising and editorial staffs. The layoffs represent about 4% of the company's workforce. Per the PIB, ad pages are down at all of Amex's luxe titles through September--with Travel + Leisure down 5% to 1,046 pages, Food & Wine down 5.2% to 945, and Departures down 5.6% to 660. Last November, Amex closed Travel + Leisure Family. Conde Nast closed Golf for Women in July of this year.

Teen Vogue Launches Mall Marketing Center

Looking to spread awareness of the brand with experiential marketing and place-based media, Conde Nast's Teen Vogue said it is opening a temporary marketing center from late November to the end of December called the Teen Vogue Haute Spot in a mall in Short Hills, NJ. Retail isn't the sole focus; per BusinessWeek, the branded space is intended to allow girls to relax, socialize and enjoy refreshments while trying on clothes. The store will feature free snacks, informal modeling, a perfume bar, a makeup station, charging stations for cell phones and iPods, a gift-wrapping counter and racks of clothes. Conde Nast is not charging advertisers to have their brands featured at the store, although some were asked to buy one or two ad pages in the upcoming issue of Teen Vogue.

Taking a Good Look at Business

Good, the magazine promoting social awareness and philanthropy from a hip point of view, is launching a new cross-platform media offering with content about the world of business, focusing on companies that embrace corporate responsibility and philanthropy. The new product, "Good Business," will have content distributed via the print magazine as well as its Web site, video and live events--and is produced in cooperation with Certified B Corps., a community of companies that support socially responsible business practices. The new product is being promoted in the current issue of Good, with 32 pages of content devoted to Good Business. The brand is also set to host live events at the upcoming Green Festival in San Francisco, which expects to draw 40,000 attendees.

Modern Luxury Media Announces Comprehensive Revamp

Modern Luxury media is overhauling all of its luxury lifestyle titles, according to the company--led by its new Manhattan magazine, which debuted in September. Ann Song, vice president of creative and fashion director, says readers will get a sleeker, more sophisticated look and format. There will also be a "strong synergy between our print and online offerings." Next up for revamp are Modern Luxury's Front Desk publications, with the new look set to debut in March 2009.

Graham Named Editor of AARP

Nancy Perry Graham has been promoted to editor of AARP The Magazine. In her new role, Graham will be responsible for the editorial direction for AARP's print and online properties, and will also work to expand the magazine's presence, build new franchises, and serve as the magazine's main spokesperson. Graham will report to Hugh Delehanty, senior vice president and editor in chief of AARP Publications. Graham was previously deputy editor of the magazine.

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