Vogue and Wired publisher Condé Nast’s UK online division made a net loss of £1.27 million ($2.1 million) in 2008 — compared to a £463,000 profit a year earlier — despite bringing in £4.79 million in revenue. That’s according to a filing at Companies House from August, which reveals how that CondéNet UK, which runs the British versions of seven Conde sites was losing money well before the tough first few months of 2009 took hold.
The division made some layoffs in March and Condé Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse admitted in May that while CondéNet sites had made good revenues in 2007, monetising online had become “harder” in the downturn. Although, 2008 was spent planning for the print and online launch of Wired in the UK, so the company has been investing money as well.
Some more Condé UK filings made recently:
— Condé Nast Publications Limited, the company’s UK magazines subsidiary, saw drop 15.9 percent year on year in 2008 to £20.1 million ($33.6 million), while revenue was stable at £125.3 million ($209 million), according to newly filed documents at Companies House in the UK (via Media Week).
— A separate document from October, shows that Condé Nast International, which houses the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, France and other international divisions, made net profits of £4.37 million ($7.32 million) in 2008, less than half the £11.7 million ($19.6 million) it made in 2007. The division has been investing in its print brands and for much of 2008 was planning international roll-outs including the Italian and UK launches of Wired and the Bulgarian version of Glamour, the title’s 16th international version.
— In the filings, the publisher puts 2008’s reduced earnings down to “competition from other media impacting circulation,” falling advertising revenues and the poorly economy. CN’s American parent company is also privately held but is not obliged to release financial data.
CN operates in 25 markets around the world — everywhere from China to South Africa and Australia — and while the pace of growth is better in places like India, where Wired is also set to launch print markets have to yet to fully mature, the recession-hit UK is as tough a publishing environment for magazines as anywhere in its portfolio right now.