The not-so-good news in the printing and publishing business seems to have no end. Publisher Condé Nast is reported to have outlined plans to trim its cut budgets on a company-wide scale by at least five per cent, which would include scaling back the number of Portfolio and Men's Vogue issues that it publishes, and at least some lay offs.
The New York Times reported that the Men's Vogue magazine would take the largest hit, moving from 10 issues a year to a bi-annual production schedule that will now see the magazine hit the stands only twice a year. A smaller impact would trickle down to the business-industry publication Portfolio, which will scale back from 12 to 10 issues.
Reports suggest that most of Men's Vogue's operations would be largely unified with those of Vogue, and some components of Portfolio, mostly online which would include ad sales, would be bundled with Wired magazine.
Layoffs are likely to have much broader impact, across the publisher's portfolio of publications, though the bulk of them are reported to be from the Men's Vogue and Portfolio magazines.
Reports suggested that the actions at the Portfolio magazine were mainly on account of sagging ad sales. According to the Magazine Publishers of America, advertising pages in the men's fashion magazine had dropped by around 20 per cent during the third quarter, while Bloomberg reported that ad sales for the magazine were an estimated $24.8 million over the first nine months of 2008, as against $301.1 million for Vogue.
Conde Nast is reportedly undecided on whether the twice-a-year Men's Vogue would be free-standing, or be distributed within Vogue, which is a monthly. Conde Nast is owned by the Newhouse family's Advance Publications Inc.
The publisher had reported slowing sales of its 26 titles during the third quarter of 2008, with even its most famous publications registering drops in sales. Vanity Fair's ad pages are reported to have dropped by around 17 per cent, while Glamour's dropped 13 per cent. Similarly, the New Yorker's dropped 26 per cent.
Bloomberg also reported that Portfolio magazine, which will now come out with 10 issues annually instead of the usual 12, would also cut staff by about 17 per cent, quoting David Carey, Conde Nast's group president. It said that the one-year old publication would sell around d 680 pages of advertising this year, while going on to say that the magazine registered an 11 per cent drop during the third quarter, citing the Magazine Publishers of America.
The New York Observer reportred that Conde Nast has told its publishers and editors of its magazines last week to cut staff and budgets by five per cent. These are reportedly going to be implemented within weeks, and would affect each of Conde Nast's titles.
Earlier in October, the Observer had also reported that Conde Nast had imposed a hiring freeze at its magazines.