Mag Bag: Doubledown Busts, Conde May Lose 'Allure'


allure Feb 2009 coverDoubledown Busts, Conde May Lose Allure

This week saw more bad news for the magazine industry, with the closing of Doubledown Media and rumors of potential magazine shutters at Conde Nast. The latest hits follow a spate of closings and layoffs that has accelerated in the face of steep declines in ad revenue.



Doubledown Media published controlled-circulation luxury lifestyle magazines targeting ambitious young executives in the financial sector. They imploded in spectacular fashion over the last five months. Few were shocked by the demise of Trader Monthly, Cigar Report and Private Air. Struggling to stay afloat, the company cut about one-quarter of its staff--12 employees--and its frequency from bimonthly to quarterly, to no avail. CEO Randall Lane said some advertisers stiffed the company to the tune of seven figures, and its bank refused to lend any more money.

Some sources wondered whether Conde Nast may close Allure. The New York Post, which first reported the news, said Conde would essentially be sacrificing one of its second-tier fashion and beauty magazines to save Portfolio, its new but beleaguered business title. The rumor comes just a few weeks after Conde closed Domino, a shelter title targeting younger female homeowners with hip design content; last year Conde shuttered Women's Golf and Men's Vogue. Allure's ad pages are down 39% in the first two months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, according to MIN Online.

The Post also speculated that celebrity gossip weekly OK may be closed by its British publisher Northern + Shell. Executives from the home office recently showed the door to General Manager Kent Brownridge and Editor in Chief Susan Toepfer, but the weakening British pound is working against the title as losses multiply.

Isaacson Gives Advice To Newspapers

Maybe it's projection: The cover story for next week's issue of Time magazine is about how to save print media--specifically, newspapers. In the article, Managing Editor Walter Isaacson suggests levying a small incremental fee for newspaper content. For example, "a newspaper might decide to charge a nickel for an article or a dime for that day's full edition or $2 for a month's worth of Web access."

Isaacson touches only briefly on the woes of the magazine industry, merely noting that "the system could be used for all forms of media: magazines and blogs, games and apps, TV newscasts and amateur videos, porn pictures and policy monographs, the reports of citizen journalists, recipes of great cooks and songs of garage bands." No mention is made of the alarming descent of newsweeklies, including Time, where ad pages fell 19% in 2008 compared to 2007 and 53% in January 2009 versus the same month in 2008.

MRI Triples Titles in 2009

MRI Starch said that it is tripling the number of magazines it tracks in 2009, from 214 specific issues of 79 titles to 646 issues across 113 titles. Owner Mediamark Research & Intelligence, which augmented its ability to measure ad effectiveness with its acquisition of GfK Starch last year, said the move is a response to advertiser demand for more specific performance data about print ads. It is also developing a syndicated ad measurement database.

Doperak Joins Time Inc.

Meg Doperak has been named director of integrated marketing for Time Inc.'s corporate sales and marketing division. In her new role, Doperak, who previously worked in a similar capacity for Rodale, will be responsible for conceptualizing and executing customized, integrated marketing programs for major advertising.

Christino To Meredith

Cathy Christino has been named associate publisher of marketing for Meredith Corp.'s Traditional Home and Midwest Living. She joins Meredith from Home, Hachette's shelter title axed last year. In her new role, she will also manage marketing programs for Meredith's Home Solutions Group, which provides innovative marketing programs across platforms for leading home and shelter marketers.

Conde Names Schutte SVP, Digital

Conde Nast named Drew Schutte, formerly the publisher of the New Yorker magazine, to a newly created role of senior vice president and chief revenue officer for Conde Nast Digital--itself a newly created division. He will be responsible for overseeing all sales and marketing at the digital operations. Schutte's old role as publisher of The New Yorker will be filled by Lisa Hughes, who has worked as vice president and publisher of Conde Nast Traveler since 1995. According to MIN Online, the New Yorker's ad pages are down 28.7% through January.

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