By  on March 4, 1994

NEW YORK -- If anybody had any trouble understanding why S.I. Newhouse made the most dramatic changes in the history of Conde Nast earlier this year, one only has to look at the first-quarter results of his magazines.

Vanity Fair's ad pages declined 25.8 percent, Mademoiselle dropped 22.1 percent, Architectural Digest was off 19.8 percent, Glamour was down 13.4 percent, GQ was off 7.2 percent and Vogue slipped 4.2 percent, according to Media Industry Newsletter.

The Vanity Fair numbers were especially poor, given that the magazine was coming off a 20 percent decline in ad pages in 1993.

But all was not gloom and doom at Conde Nast. Allure jumped 19.8 percent, Self moved ahead 12.3 percent and Details rose 1.6 percent.

First-quarter results at some other fashion magazines were also markedly better. Harper's Bazaar, a Hearst publication, reported a 10.3 percent increase in ad pages, while Elle, published by Hachette, moved ahead 11.7 percent. W, a Fairchild publication, showed a 6 percent gain.

Murdoch Magazines' Mirabella, however, was off 10.4 percent in ad pages for the quarter and Hearst's Town & Country, despite a new editor, a new look and a large marketing campaign, only managed to inch up 1.4 percent.

Publishers described the first quarter as "difficult" because advertisers held back budgets and ran fewer pages. The publishers said they were expecting to recoup some of their lost ground in the second quarter.

"Fashion was the hardest hit," said Jack Kliger, publisher of Glamour. "It was a tough first quarter. Everybody was holding off on their budgets. The second quarter looks like it will be up." As for the year, he said, "It's a tough call. I think we'll be about even."

Kliger said Glamour's circulation has been growing. Glamour posted a 10.6 percent increase in circulation in the second half of 1993, with an average total paid circulation for the period of 2.3 million.

Mademoiselle blames its poor performance on the turmoil that occurred at the magazine in 1993. "I had an editor-in-chief change again and a new art director," said Julie Lewit-Nirenberg, publisher. "From September to February, I did not have a magazine to sell."

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