It may be awhile before things settle down at Condé Nast.
Even before the new global chief executive officer is found, editors at all Condé titles, regardless of performance, have been tasked with identifying where and how cuts to their budgets can be made, from production expenses to possible staff reductions, WWD has learned.
While preliminary yearly budgeting is a part of any media operation and Condé is nearing the start of a new fiscal year come February, doing so with an eye on how to make cuts is something of a new standard for the publisher. And it’s said that even titles thought to be doing relatively well financially — like Vogue, Wired and the New Yorker — are under the same mandate to find what and who can be done without and how that would translate to reality. International titles, particularly those in Europe, are said to have the orders, too.
Enacting any major changes are said to await a decision by the incoming ceo, who will replace Bob Sauerberg and also take over international responsibilities from Condé scion Jonathan Newhouse, who will move to the role of chairman. Nevertheless, there is a sense that the company seems eager to get the ball rolling, or at least have it ready to roll, so the inevitable cuts from fully combining domestic and overseas operations can be swift under new leadership.
A Condé spokesman declined to comment.
Whatever next year brings, it is a time of uncertainty at the publisher. After decades at the top of the magazine industry, bolstered by a strategy of charging the most for ads and spending the most on talent, the last decade has seen Condé falter in the face of digital upheaval.
Some staffers seem apathetic to the possibility that even more jobs will be cut or they will be essentially forced to take on a freelance contract, as has been done with many big editorial names over the last year. Those that made it through the waves of cuts in recent years openly wonder what title will be next to fold print — Allure? Bon Appetit? Only a handful remain — but seem unfazed by what that could mean for their jobs.
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