Condé Nast Joins the Business Press
Condé Nast -- typically viewed as the most glamorous if not the most profitable magazine company -- has largely been built on iconic female-skewing titles like Vogue, Glamour, and Architectural Digest. But the Advance Publications unit announced on Aug. 24 that it will launch a monthly business magazine and create an entirely new division devoted to business publishing. "It's a continuation of the [company's] interest of moving into the men's side of the business," says Condé Nast President-CEO Charles H. Townsend.
The as-yet-untitled magazine won't launch until 2007, says David Carey, the current publisher of Condé Nast's The New Yorker who'll become the president of the new division. It is possible, however, that Web sites may launch before the magazine. The new unit is ultimately expected to resemble its corporate sibling, the Golf Digest Companies, which in addition to its flagship title publishes smaller magazines like Golf World and Golf for Women, and operates ancillary businesses like custom publishing and conferences.
A NEW APPROACH.
The magazine's editor-in-chief will be Joanne Lipman, who was a deputy managing editor at The Wall Street Journal. There she played key roles in launching its lifestyle sections, Personal Journal and Weekend Journal, of which she was founding editor. Lipman declined to outline her vision for the magazine to BusinessWeek Online beyond saying, "Condé Nast is the perfect place to create a new business magazine not modeled on anything else."
Still, her tenure at the Journal could offer a clue about the new magazine's direction, as do Townsend's comments. "The category doesn't need another BusinessWeek. It's got one," he said. "There's an opportunity for a sort of Condé Nast approach to the business category."
This presumably means a luxe-lifestyle approach, which has been one growth sector for magazines, thanks to titles like CurtCo's Robb Report and a new rash of free, thick glossies aimed at various cities' monied elites (see BW, 8/22/05, "Content Like Air Kisses").
Major business publications, including the Journal, have been battered by a category ad downturn that's now a half-decade long. Since 2000, ad pages at Time Warner's (TWX ) Fortune and BusinessWeek (owned by The McGraw-Hill Companies, MHP ) were down more than 10%, and at Forbes they've fallen 4.3%, according to Publishers Information Bureau.
Carey, long viewed as a rising star at Condé Nast, isn't a stranger to business magazines. He was the launch publisher of Hearst Magazines/Dow Jones & Co. co-venture Smart Money. In early 2001 he briefly left his publisher perch at The New Yorker to run the short-lived and ill-fated Business Information Group at Gruner + Jahr Publishing USA, which at that time owned Inc. and Fast Company. (Carey returned to The New Yorker after just six months.)
Lipman's duties at The Journal will be assumed by Assistant Managing Editor Edward Felsenthal, according to a news release. The The New Yorker's next publisher is expected to be named imminently. Insiders say the leading candidates to replace Carey are Pete Hunsinger, publisher of GQ, and Lou Cona, publisher of Vanity Fair. Both publications are owned by Condé Nast.
Should either be named, a cascade of additional publisher changes at Condé Nast is expected to follow -- and, perhaps, at other business publications as well.
By Jon Fine
Edited by Patricia O'Connell