MORE CUTS AT CONDÉ?: Condé Nast has been undergoing a restructuring for the last two years — but the process isn’t over quite yet and there could be yet another magazine casualty on the way.
Numerous sources say one possibility being considered is to finally do what has been long rumored: shutter the nearly 50-year-old W magazine, launched in 1972 by publishing legend John B. Fairchild. It’s unclear if the title would continue to live online in some capacity, but the magazine, now down to only eight issues a year, has been floundering for some time as print advertising has continued to dwindle. Stefano Tonchi in 2010 became editor in chief of W, which stayed part of Condé in 2014 when Fairchild, parent of WWD, was sold to Penske Media Corp.
While the closure of W, which has more than 30 editorial workers on staff, is but one possible scenario that’s being floated as part of the restructuring, if it comes to pass it would clearly mean more layoffs for Condé. But there also is talk of even more cuts beyond W in coming weeks. The magazine publisher has steadily winnowed its magazines’ staffs by consolidating content creation, editing, communication and business departments across titles over the last two years, while shuttering the print operations or reducing print frequency of several titles, such as Allure, which publishes 11 times a year, and W as well, which publishes eight times.
The dedicated business staff of Glamour, already trimmed down and using content from other titles under Samantha Barry, could be facing cuts, with those operations heading for general oversight by Condé’s business leads said to be under consideration, as is a further consolidation of output at already online-only titles like Self.
A spokesman for Condé said simply: “We aren’t going to comment on ongoing speculation about every possible business decision the company considers or not.”
But pinching pennies is certainly the new reality for Condé, once known to spend lavishly on its editorial talent. Now, more full-time staffers are being shunted into contract positions, meaning they get paid less and don’t receive employment benefits, while even Anna Wintour, legendary Vogue editor in chief and Condé’s artistic director, is being used to gather some licensing revenue with a new Nike deal to design a pair of Air Jordans.
Wintour herself is the subject of persistent rumors that she will leave Vogue or possibly Condé altogether, something the company has repeatedly and emphatically denied.
Things can always change, but it seems probable that come the fall fashion week season, Condé could look decidedly different.
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