Conde Nast Insiders Are Unhappy with Digital Business Setup: Report

Vogue’s status as a fashion industry bible hasn’t translated into a strong online presence and that’s a problem for publisher Conde Nast, according to a report in Crain’s NY.
The magazine’s site doesn’t meet the 340,000 unique visitor threshold of Nielsen/NetRatings. The business paper says it isn’t the fault of Vogue’s legendary editor Ana Wintour or publisher Tom Florio. Some executives, though, are blaming the set up of CondeNet, the centralized business that runs the magazine’s websites, the story says.
“The arrangement is causing friction in some quarters of the tony publishing empire…Magazine executives, who would speak only if granted anonymity, say that with the center of gravity shifting toward the Internet, they no longer want their online identities controlled by a separate division that not only administers the sites but collects the ad revenue, too…Insiders aren’t the only ones complaining. Media buyers eager to reach new audiences also want to see the digital and print sides unite.”
Unlike news and business magazines, Conde Nast has held its ground in the digital age. Ad revenue through August was $2 billion, up 9 percent, according to a TNS Media Intelligence estimate cited by the publication. Plus, unlike Time Inc., there hasn’t been pressure to do more online. Conde Nast told Crain’s points to a 40 percent gain in page views and a 32 percent increase in ad revenue this year as proof that its strategy works Magazine sites are being relaunched and the company also is trying out new business models, Crain’s says.
Rafat adds: On the other hand, the needle has surely moved, with Wired News website being bought back by recently CondeNast…it also bought NutritionData. The yesterday, it announced buying of the social news site Reddit. With these and further buyouts in pipeline, there may be continuing rationale to keeping CondeNet separate, at least in the short to medium term.