Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Condé Nast Doesn't See A Future With Magazines

In a true blow to the magazine industry, Condé Nast threw up their hands and says "No Mas" to a number of long time, popular magazines. The axe hit some notable titles including Gourmet, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and parenting magazine Cookie. Rather than sell these title to another entity, Condé Nast will just shut them down and lay off its employees. This move isn't new to them. "Condé Nast in the past year closed its Portfolio, Domino and Golf for Women magazines. It folded Men’s Vogue into Vogue magazine."

Certainly the ad market for magazine has slowed although some are seeing it turn the corner. And subscription has taken a toll as well, especially when it competes against free content on the web. Still, Kindle and other portable devices are growing rapidly and need content to grow more. A subscription service does make sense on these devices and could work well.

Condé Nast may have suffered as none of their magazine brands have broadened outside their media. Scripps seems to have done a better job tying in their cable network brands with magazines including cooking, home repair, etc. Could Condé Nast have done more to be part of the trend and not left behind it. It seems more could have been done.

It seems too that this business decision was made because of a consultant's recommendation. "Condé Nast hired consulting firm McKinsey & Co. in July to evaluate its magazine properties and other aspects of its business, said Maurie Perl, a spokeswoman for the publisher." Was this the best decision they could come up with. I sometimes wonder if all consultants do is create change to justify their fee; did they ever evaluate the choice of status quo. And was a sale of the brands even a possibility. Was the ending of Gourmet, Modern Bride, and others truly the best course of action.

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