Tag Archives: Conde Nast Portfolio

Business magazines underperform vs. industry in second quarter


Advertising dollars in 15 business-related magazines fell 5.5 percent in the second quarter of the year, while ad pages dropped 10.2 percent, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau analyzed by Talking Biz News.

In comparison, the overall magazine industry saw a 5.2 percent increase in ad dollars and just a 1.9 percent decline in ad pages.

The EconomistThe numbers for the business magazines exclude any data from newly launched Conde Nast Portfolio. However, if Portfolio’s reported 185 ad pages were included in the ad numbers, ad pages for business magazines in the second quarter would still be down 6.9 percent. The numbers also exclude any data from the new American business magazine.

Overall, the 15 business magazines reported $468.1 million in ad revenue for three months, compared to $495.1 million in ad revenue for the second quarter of 2006. The ad pages were 5,082.59 (excluding Portfolio), compared to 5660.57 in the same three months in 2006.

The best performing business magazines in the quarter were The Economist and Barron’s. Economist reported a 31.3 percent increase in ad dollars to $28.4 million and a 13 percent jump in ad pages to 634.23, while Barron’s had a 27.5 percent increase in ad dollars to $15.3 million and a 19 percent increase in ad pages to 394.72.

Also showing a nice quarter was Fast Company, up 14.1 percent in ad dollars to $8.7 million and up 8 percent in ad pages to 121.21, and Wired, up 13.6 percent in ad dollars to $20.1 million and up 3.4 percent in ad pages to 279.85.

At the other end, Business 2.0 reported a 38 percent drop in ad dollars to $9.2 million adn a 41.5 percent decline in ad pages to 134.46, while PC Magazine posted a 24.3 percent drop in ad dollars to $22.3 million and a 28 percent drop in ad pages to 275.83.

Among the “big three,” Forbes was up 11.8 percent in ad dollars, while Fortune was off 13.4 percent and BusinessWeek dropped 15.2 percent. with $104.4 million, Forbes garnered a 22.3 percent share of all business magazine ad dollars in the second quarter compared to 18.9 percent in the second quarter of 2006 on $93.3 million in ad sales.

Time Inc.’s four financial glossies — Business 2.0, Fortune, Fortune Small Biz and Money — all saw declines in the quarter in ad dollars and ad pages. The four magazines had a 29.3 percent share of all business magazine ad dollars in the second quarter on $137.4 million, down from 33.1 percent in the second quarter of 2006 on $163.8 million in ad sales. Maybe that’s why the company just named a new head of its business magazine operation.

All of the data for magazines can be found on this Excel spreadsheet.

Debating Burnett vs. Bartiromo


Conde Nast Portfolio’s Claire Atkinson has a story on the magazine’s web site that assesses CNBC‘s rising star in Erin Burnett vs. the entrenched star in Maria Bartiromo.

Erin BurnettAtkinson wrote, “Whether Burnett will eclipse Bartiromo is yet to be seen. But it’s hard to argue Burnett’s considerable bona fides. A former mergers and acquisitions investment-banking analyst with Goldman Sachs, Burnett got her entrée to TV journalism after writing a fan letter to former CNN anchor Willow Bay, who hired her as an assistant. She later became a writer and booker for the likes of Lou Dobbs and Fox News’ Stuart Varney before departing to CitiMedia/Citigroup to launch an in-house news network as a vice president. There she interviewed thousands of business executives and realized she loved it. ‘I had my eureka moment there,’ she says.

“With her trademark giraffe-print wrap dresses and puffy-sleeved Tory Burch blouses, Burnett cuts a conspicuous figure on both CNBC and the New York Stock Exchange (where Squawk on the Street is taped). Having her own show, Street Signs, she says, is a huge opportunity. ‘It gives me a chance to have on people who are insightful about what’s going on. I like to focus on C.E.O.’s and get a real in-depth interview,’ she says. Burnett has done exactly that. Among her on-air gets was an interview with Citigroup C.O.O. Bob Druskin, whom she got to comment about a set of huge layoffs the company had not yet made public….”

“Says Burnett: ‘Longer term, I’d love to have a format where movers and shakers could talk, people who the world cares about; C.E.O.’s, presidents, and Angelina Jolie. It’s not Larry King, it’s more Charlie Rose with high energy for the new generation.’”

Read more here. 

Winners and losers in WSJ purchase by Murdoch


Stephen Foley of The Independent newspaper in London has his list of winners and losers once News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch completes his apparent purchase of Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal.

They include:

Bloomberg, Reuters/Thomson: Thanks to the ‘Journal’ and the upcoming Fox Business Channel, News Corp is likely to focus Dow Jones on consumers rather than the data fiends these companies cater to. That may not have been so under a different owner.

‘WSJ’ unions: Murdoch is talking expansion, so ‘Journal’ staffers can feel safer than they might have under a different owner. Then again, News Corp has never been a great friend of labour.

‘BusinessWeek’, ‘Fortune’, ‘Forbes’, Condé Nast portfolio: A recharged ‘Wall Street Journal’ sales team means more competition for advertisers. One possible upside: claiming journalistic high ground over Murdoch’s ‘WSJ’.

CNBC: Remember how upstart Fox News quickly overtook CNN? Then you know why CNBC is nervous. A News Corp acquisition of Dow Jones’s talent could Fox snatch more audiences and ad dollars. Is there room for two business channels?

Read more here.

Portfolio web site in beta until September


Gawker has a nice critique of the Conde Nast Portfolio web site this evening and breaks the news that it will remain in beta format until September, when the business glossy’s second issue will hit newsstands.

Gawker wrote, “The website’s tagline is ‘Breaking Business News and Opinion, Executive Profiles and Careers.’ So what did they break today? There’s a piece about Hugo Chavez forcing oil companies out of Venezuela; a much longer and thoughtful piece ran on the Portfoliofront page of the Wall Street Journal today. There’s a perfunctory (330 words) update about the Rupert Murdoch-Dow Jones takeover. There’s an article about business spending that essentially summarizes a Bloomberg article about the same thing, and another about the Bear Stearns hedge fund bailout that’s also a takeaway from a Bloomberg piece. Their fifth lead story is about the pricing plans for the iPhone, with zero analysis or new insight—just a list of prices and features. There’s nothing terrible really. None of these are must-reads, or unique stories that the average business executive hasn’t already read when he picks up his WSJ in the morning.

“Also on the front page today is a story about art market hedge funds, including The Art Trading Fund, which isn’t that dissimilar from that outfit’s mention in the Economist last month.

“And as the magazine spends the next month closing its second issue, are any of the staff writers going to have stories for the web? Not likely. It’s like a more serious version of the Radar effect: The more stressful the magazine closing, the less content there is on the website.

“Okay. So the Breaking Business News is a wash. How about those much-vaunted bloggers? Well, a couple of them are doing some decent stuff.”

Read more here. 

Ad pages down for next issue of Portfolio


Crain’s New York Business is reporting that the second issue of Conde Nast Portfolio, the new business magazine, won’t have as many ad pages as the premiere issue.

Conde Nast PortfolioCrain’s reported, “Publisher David Carey was pressing the flesh last week during the final stretch of his race to fill Conde Nast Portfolio‘s second issue with ads. He met with clients to share enthusiastic e-mails from some of the business title’s high-profile readers, media buyers say.

“His efforts to retain all his advertisers haven’t been entirely successful. The debut issue, which arrived in April amid tremendous hype and mixed reviews, had 185 ad pages. The September issue will have roughly 120, a Portfolio spokeswoman says.

“One executive at a major media-buying shop explains why some clients whose ads appeared in the first issue will not return: ‘They expected a more hard-hitting, substantive business environment, and what they got was a fashion-centric, business-as-background type of Conde Nast title,’ he says.”

Read more here. The Portfolio spokeswoman said that the ad count for the next issue is in line with projections.

Conde Nast Portfolio: Si Newhouse happy, but staff not with first issue


The Gawker web site has an interesting item about the mood inside Conde Nast Portfolio as it prepares its second issue to go to the printers. Company leader Si Newhouse was apparently very happy with the first issue, but many at the staff of the new business magazine were not, especially with editor Joanne Lipman.

Conde Nast PortfolioGawker wrote, “Lipman—who had worked at the Wall Street Journal since she was 22—has never worked in magazines before, which rankles some of her staff. ‘There is a group of editors who are very unhappy with Joanne and feel like she sort of doesn’t ‘get’ magazines and isn’t being very creative,’ said a magazine staffer. ‘She doesn’t get magazines to the point where her judgment on writers isn’t very good and her assignments are questionable.’

“And the biggest gripe seems to be that the magazine may be paying lip service to being ‘serious business journalism,’ but its first issue doesn’t fulfill that mandate. ‘It’s totally wrong for the audience it’s going for,” said the source close to the magazine. ‘They want to know deals. They want information that they can’t get anywhere else. The Observer article said the magazine provides no narrative—they don’t tell you how the money was made. And almost every single article in the first issue is tainted—there’s lifestyle or pop culture dragged into it. The [hedge fund manager Ken] Griffin story is all about his art collection. The audience would rather read about the merger of two steel companies!’

“This source added, ‘The bottom line is, there’s nothing in the magazine that is quote-unquote ‘compelling’ if you’re a business executive. There’s nothing in there that you need to know.’”

Read more here.

Eichenwald's story holding again at Portfolio


The Gawker web site is also reporting that former New York Times investigative business reporter Kurt Eichenwald is steamed in his new job at Conde Nast Portfolio because his big story that was supposed to run in the premiere issue is now not running in the second issue as well.

Kurt EichenwaldGawker reported, “We’re also told that Eichenwald is steamed that Portfolio editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman won’t let him resell the piece. Her reasoning is that he shouldn’t because the magazine is paying him so well for his work. ‘He’s pissed,’ a source at the magazine said.

“It’s a tense time at Portfolio in general, report staffers. The next issue, dated September, is ramping up for a late July close.

“Eichenwald is still under contract to the magazine, but there’s speculation among staffers that the magazine is hoping he’ll just leave quietly on his own accord. We imagine the lawyer-happy fella would undoubtedly not respond well to his contract being broken.”

Read more here.

Serwer trying to woo back those who left Fortune


Michael Calderone of the New York Observer interviews Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer about his first six months on the job and notes that he’s trying to bring back some staff members who left in recent years.

Betsy Morris, who left Fortune last year for Conde Nast Portfolio, recently returned to the Time Inc. glossy.

Andy SerwerCalderone wrote, “Mr. Serwer said that he still considers BusinessWeek and The New York Times to be his primary competition, not the upstart glossy.

“‘I think they’re going to be competing more against Vanity Fair than us’ he said. ‘Isn’t that the same company?’

“Competition or not, Portfolio has dug deep into Newhouse coffers to successfully raid magazine mastheads.

“But Mr. Serwer is apparently ready to answer back, and has extended offers to staffers who fled during Eric Pooley’s tumultuous 18-month tenure as managing editor, according to a Fortune staffer.

“Although there is not a ‘blanket offer,’ said another staffer, Mr. Serwer has not been shy about making overtures.

“And Ms. Morris was not the only Fortune-turned-Portfolio staffer he’s tried to bring back in the ranks.

“Mr. Serwer reached out to Portfolio senior writer Dan Roth, and the two met up last fall, according to a source. But Mr. Roth didn’t budge from 4 Times Square.”

Read more here.

Morris headed back to Fortune from Portfolio


Betsy Morris, a long-time Fortune writer who left the magazine last fall to join the new Conde Nast Portfolio, is heading back to Fortune, writes the New York Post’s Keith Kelly.

Betsy MorrisKelly wrote, “Morris resigned from her senior writer job yesterday and expected to be named to her old job at Fortune as early as today. She is the second high-profile defection from Editor-in-Chief Joanne Lipman‘s staff. Earlier, Laurie Cohen quit even before the launch took place to return to The Wall Street Journal, where she and Lipman were once colleagues.

“Morris, who continued to work from Atlanta, could not be reached at presstime.

“But unlike some of the stars who were upset when their stories did not make the cut for the first issue, Morris was in the starting lineup with a story on auto-scion Bill Ford and the future of the troubled car company.”

Read more here. She hadn’t been gone from Fortune long enough for it to take her bio off its web site.

Sloan on Sloan


Allan Sloan, the Newsweek Wall Street editor who announced last week he was leaving to work for Fortune magazine, said Monday that the decision was partly based on working with an old colleague and the demand for high-end business journalism caused by the launches of Portfolio magazine and Fox Business News.

Allan Sloan“I’m just excited about the chance to be with a lot of people who care about this stuff,” said Sloan, speaking to a group of business journalists at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual conference.

Sloan said he wanted to work again with Hank Gilman, now deputy managing editor at Fortune and formerly the business editor at Newsweek. As part of his deal, the Washington Post will continue to run his column.

He also noted that business publications in New York such as Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal “are thinking they have to do something” in the wake of high-profile hires by Conde Nast Portfolio, a new business magazine that launched earlier this year, and the fall launch of the Fox Business channel.

Sloan, who has been at Newsweek for 12 years, is a six-time winner of the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award, business journalism’s highest honor, and has also won numerous awards and honors during his 35-year business journalism career. In 2001, he received both the Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award for business and financial journalism, and the Distinguished Achievement Award from SABEW.

Sloan also spoke about his column writing and his career. In a handout given to SABEW attendees, Sloan wrote, “One of the joys of being a business writer is that the world produces documents for us. Documents never give you lip and don’t complain if you hunt them up outside of normal business hours. And I’ve never known a document to call my boss and complain it was misquoted.”

Later, when discussing good column writing, he added, “It’s a question of finding the story, then writing it in a language approaching English. It helps to have intelligent editing, which was the case in all of these [examples], and to have an art department that picks up on the spirit of what you’re trying to do.”