BACK AGAIN — TWICE: Reports of Vogue Living’s death may have been exaggerated — or at least premature. The Vogue shelter spin-off, downgraded last year to a “13th issue,” appears this week for the second time, and several sources at Condé Nast said the company was strongly leaning toward bumping up the title to two issues next year. The increased frequency would come even though this year’s issue has 88.4 ad pages, down 34 percent from last year’s 134. Ad pages across all of Condé Nast’s existing shelter titles are either flat or down through September, and upheavals in the housing market are hardly good news for the category. (Hearst’s House Beautiful may be up 8.4 percent, but it’s still significantly smaller than both Architectural Digest and House & Garden. Hachette’s Elle Decor, with a renewed fashion push, is probably a greater threat, up 15.2 percent year to date, with 811 pages.) But, although reception to the premiere issue last year was cool, Vogue Living has not appeared to involve significant investment thus far, drawing from existing staff resources. As for the other tentacles of the Vogue empire, Men’s Vogue, now at 10 times a year, was up 73 percent in ad pages, though Teen Vogue faltered a bit with a decrease of 4.9, both figures year to date through September. A spokeswoman for Condé Nast, which also owns WWD, said the company was not yet ready to discuss 2008 plans for Vogue Living.
— Irin Carmon
BACK TO BASE: That didn’t last long. Mark Healy’s yearlong stint as editor in chief of Penthouse — during which he attempted to bring the title more upscale and attracted name-brand photographers like Terry Richardson — ended late Thursday. He resigned and will return to GQ, where he was formerly articles editor, to be editorial projects director, both assigning and editing pieces as well as working on long-term projects and the Web. Healy told WWD that he hadn’t seen eye to eye with the management of Penthouse Media Group, which is backed by a private-equity firm in Florida. “They may be good businessmen, but they had short-term goals for a long-term business,” he said. “They’re not committed to, or all that interested in, making a good magazine.” He added that the owners wanted to take a more sexually explicit direction than he did (it is Penthouse, after all). Healy is expected back at GQ by the end of the month. “I had a good run for a while,” he said, “but it was clear I was working very hard in a vacuum.”
THANKS — AND WE AREN’T A DINOSAUR: During the last quarterly earnings call for Dow Jones as a stand-alone company (since the deal with News Corp. is set to close in December), chief executive officer Richard Zannino took a few seconds to extend “best wishes” to those on the Street who have supported the company, and also addressed the press critics. “We are not the wounded and malnourished media dinosaur that many in the press have recently portrayed us to be,” Zannino insisted.
That may be true, but the company’s net income for the third quarter plummeted 87 percent to $13.7 million from $105.4 million during the same period a year ago. Total revenue was up 20 percent to $493.3 million over the third quarter in 2006, but after adjustments for acquisitions, revenue increased 1.8 percent.
Print advertising at The Wall Street Journal’s U.S. edition declined 2.9 percent; however, Zannino predicts growth during the fourth quarter in print ad revenue and a 20 percent hike in online ad revenue.
— Amy Wicks
CORRECTION: Sean Fenlon is Alpha Media Group’s new director of manufacturing and distribution. This was incorrect in a Memo Pad item, Thursday.