ONLINE CONGLOMERATE: Condé Nast is making it easier for advertisers to buy space across all the company’s digital assets. On Monday, the company unveiled the formation of Condé Nast Digital, a division that will house the CondéNet sites including Epicurious.com, NutritionData.com, Concierge.com, HotelChatter.com, Jaunted.com, Style.com, Men.Style.com, Reddit, Ars Technica, and Webmonkey, as well as the individual magazine-branded Web sites. WWD.com will remain part of the Fairchild Fashion Group. Sarah Chubb, previously president of CondéNet, will lead Condé Nast Digital.
The decision is one insiders said should have been made months ago — it allows the sites to be sold in packages to advertisers with one or two salespeople spearheading each deal. This provides an advertiser a much greater audience per purchase, and eliminates the need to deal with different points of contact at Condé Nast. As one executive commented, “In the previous structure, if someone wanted to buy every home page at Condé Nast sites, it would be complicated to have that happen. Now it will be much easier.” One beneficiary of the new organization is Richard Beckman, president of the Condé Nast Media Group, who can now leverage the dot-coms along with the print brands when negotiating group buys for Condé’s corporate clients.
Condé Nast has been criticized for its slow move to the Internet, as its competitors Hearst Magazines and Time Inc. have invested heavily in the past several years in their online expansion, with varying degrees of success. But their efforts have shown some traction in terms of their contributions to the companies’ ad revenues. Advertising Age, which reported on CondéNet’s consolidation on Monday, reported that just 3 percent of Condé Nast ad revenue came from digital last year. Time Inc., comparatively, gets over 10 percent of its ad revenue from online, while Hearst brought in about 6.5 percent of its advertising revenue in 2008 from its digital offerings, with that number projected to reach 8 percent in 2009.