SHRINKING STAFFS: By today, staff reductions at Vanity Fair, GQ, Allure, Architectural Digest and Condé Nast Traveler will have been implemented as layoffs continue across all titles at Condé Nast. The largest layoffs on Thursday are said to have happened at the magazine with one of the company’s largest mastheads, Vanity Fair, where cuts on the edit side on Thursday were described as “sizable.” Among those said to have been let go were Heather Halberstadt, a senior editor who had been at the title for about 10 years. Vanity Fair last week trimmed about five people from its ad sales staff, including an advertising director. GQ on Thursday laid off about a half dozen people across its edit and business divisions, and, on Wednesday, Allure let go five across both divisions of the magazine, including longtime executive editor Susan Kittenplan. The total number of staffers cut this month is approaching 300, with most of those — about 180 — coming from the closures of Gourmet, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Cookie.
— Stephanie D. Smith
This story first appeared in the October 23, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
LOSSES AT THE TIMES: The New York Times Co. reported third-quarter earnings on Thursday, with print ad revenues at the News Media Group (which includes the Times itself) down 30 percent and digital ad revenues falling 19 percent. National print categories challenged during the period include financial services, studio entertainment and telecommunications; only health care showed an uptick in advertising. Total revenues at the company dropped 16.9 percent to $570 million, due to lower print advertising, while overall ad revenue fell 26.9 percent and circulation revenues rose 6.7 percent. Internet revenues, which include nytimes.com, decreased 7.2 percent to $78.9 million and Internet ad revenues declined 8.2 percent to $68.3 million. The company recorded a net loss of $35.6 million, compared to losses of $106.2 million during the same period last year.
For the fourth quarter, chief executive Janet Robinson remarked on some encouraging and modest signs of improvement in advertising in print and in digital, which could improve more than print, although she didn’t elaborate. Earlier this week, the company said it would eliminate 100 newsroom positions at the Times, first by offering buyouts and, if necessary, with layoffs.
— Amy Wicks
FASHION IS…CHEESECAKES?: Isaac Mizrahi will soon be selling cheesecake on QVC — yes, cheesecake. The designer was part of a panel discussion held Wednesday evening at the 92nd Street Y on the “The Future of Fashion,” which, apparently for Mizrahi, will involve baked goods. “Ask yourself, what would you never ever do, and then you do that,” he remarked.
Back to fashion, though. Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive moderated the panel, which also included Ashley Olsen and Robin Givhan. Leive asked Olsen what she thought of celebrities as designers. “A lot of celebrities get involved because they want to slap their name on it and it will add to their brand,” said Olsen. “And for us, it was totally different. That wasn’t my point. For me, when I look at it as a celebrity brand it’s almost silly to me, because I’m not coming at it from a celebrity standpoint.” As far as celebrities on the red carpet, Givhan said she can’t pick one who’s “best dressed” since they all use stylists. And Mizrahi said it’s much more about design than seeing his dresses on the red carpet. “Design is eternal,” he noted. “If my clothes don’t translate on the runway, I’m OK with that.”
NO CHANGE: The death last week of Lazard chief and New York magazine owner Bruce Wasserstein caused some to wonder whether the title would be put on the selling block. Wasserstein bought New York in 2003 for $55 million, and left the magazine in a trust for his children. New York Media chief executive officer Anup Bagaria sent a memo to staffers on Thursday, first reported by AdAge.com, that firmly put to rest any speculation as to the magazine’s future, saying there will be no change in ownership. “The company will continue to be controlled by a Wasserstein family trust that is proud of the work being done by New York magazine and its online properties nymag.com, MenuPages.com and Grub Street,” he wrote.