It’s trendy for companies these days to talk about breaking down silos to allow for more nimble execution. But some media companies are also…

imageIt’s trendy for companies these days to talk about breaking down silos to allow for more nimble execution. But some media companies are also busy creating new silos. Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. (HFM U.S.) is reorganizing its women’s magazine division by grouping staff around signature titles like ELLE, Woman’s Day and Metropolitan Home. The result: the ELLE Group, the Luxury Design Group, the Woman’s Day Group, etc. Each group will be led by a Chief Brand Officer, who will oversee sales and editorial direction across both print and digital; they will report directly to HFM U.S. President and CEO Alain Lemarchand, and also work closely with SVP of digital Todd Anderman.

It’s clear that Hachette needed a shakeup of some kind. While print magazines generally are struggling, HFM U.S.’ women’s titles also don’t seem to be doing well online: on average, traffic to the Hachette Filippacchi Women’s Network has hovered at about three million unique monthly visitors for the past three months, per *comScore*. In contrast, traffic to rival publishers’ networks like CondeNet and Hearst were in the 12 million and 10 million ranges, respectively. Release.

More details on the reorg after the jump.

The EICs in each division will now be called VPs of brand content, and while they’ll maintain editorial duties for their print titles, the company’s Digital Media group will still be responsible for the bulk of the digital content. Each unit will also have a VP, brand publisher to oversee sales, and a VP, brand development for business development; if there’s a mobile, book publishing, or licensing project related to a brand — like Elle’s clothing line for retailer Kohl’s — then the teams will work with a dedicated mobile, book publishing or licensing specialist. If it sounds a little complicated, that’s because it is — but the new structure must be less complex than before — as Lemarchand said the reorg was designed to create “nimble, cohesive, strategic and focused units.”

ELLE Group: Carol Smith is the SVP and chief brand officer; the division includes ELLE and ELLE.com’s group of 20 sites. Roberta Myers is the new VP, brand content; the VP, brand publisher and VP, brand development have yet to be announced.

Luxury Design Group: Deborah Burns is the SVP and chief brand officer; the division includes ELLE DECOR and Metropolitan Home. Margaret Russell is VP, brand content for ELLE DECOR and Donna Warner is VP, brand content for Metropolitan Home. On the sales side, Barbara Friedmann will serve as VP, brand content for both titles; Christie Boyle will be VP, brand development for both, as well.

Woman’s Day Group: Carlos Lamadrid is the SVP and chief brand officer; the division includes Woman’s Day and the newly redesigned WomansDay.com. Jane Chesnutt will serve as SVP, brand content; on the sales side, Claire Marin will be VP, brand publisher and Renee Ifill is VP, brand development.

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  1. Tameka,

    A couple of comments on your piece.

    When you compare Condenet 12m UV and Hearst 10m UV to Hachette 3m UV you omit to say:

    1. For Hearst and Condenet, you account all traffic, whether it's women or not… If you were to apply that to Hachette, the company's traffic is rather in the 5m UV and if you include Jumpstart Automotive Media that the company bought 18 months ago, that number jumps to 13m UV.

    2. Hearst major traffic contributor is Kaboodle which are very little to do with the magazine content business. Whether this is where the publishers generally need to invest or not is another question.

    3. Finally, these mere 3m UV for the women's group at Hachette is actually up by 300% over the course of the last 12 months. Which is not this bad even if, you're right on that, the company needs to keep the good efforts…

  2. Bottom line is that even though traffic is up, revenue isn't. The business model is not sustainable. Even if it's 13m uniques, you aren't profitable.

  3. Danielle Cavallucci Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Traffic doesn't spell profits in a marketplace where tactile media is becoming obsolete. Blockbuster is finally caving several years after I had this conversation with their exec's at the Film Finance Forum in New York City and was scoffed at by the very dinosaurs whose backward thinking has supported overextended efforts to bail out out an impossibly doomed business model.

    Revolution (as in, tech & info) spells growing pains, but smart business people inherit the lessons of history and move on. We're going digital, convenient, news bite, ADD & there's not a whole lot you can do about that, save revamp and totally innovate. Out with the old, in with the new. Cater to the marketplace rather than nostalgia, and quit crying negative growth.

    How do you expect to sustain profit growth without evolution?

    It's high time media congloms get with the Aquarian Age. Denial, as we've seen in the mortgage and finance industries, is no means to a positive end.

  4. Nothing will help this company. Top-level management is, and always has been, incompetent.

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