Ad Age reports that Conde Nast is preparing to make cuts to Richard Beckman’s Media Group. The group, which Beckman has run since 2004, handles more than 80 percent of Conde Nast’s revenue. Traditionally, the Beckman group would take the lead on all corporate marketing programs as well as overseeing contracts for advertisers who bought ads within three or more Conde Nast titles.
Last year Beckman’s group generated an estimated $2.5 billion for Conde Nast. Unfortunately, with the postponement of Fashion Rocks 2009, the group’s biggest annual marketing program, Beckman’s team has had significantly less work on its palate. Now the staff of 135 people, including creative services, production, marketing and sales, are facing possible reduction.
CEO Charles Townsend warned Conde Nasters two weeks ago that they were going to have to make “difficult decisions” to cut cost. In addition to staff cuts, the Observer reports managers can expect another 10 percent reduction of their non-salary, discretionary budgets. Staffers will also see the elimination of their pension plan, FishBowlNY says. Currently pensions are frozen, there will be no more company contributions to the plan for eligible employees and those who are not yet vested will not have the option to become vested.
On the heels of all this tragic news, Gabriel Sherman was kind enough to point out, that if we look closely at these setbacks, we’ll actually see before us a “hopeful portrait of the magazine business.” In an article entitled The Magazine Isn’t Dying, which Sherman penned for Big Money, the prescient journalist says, “It’s not that magazines are dying; it’s that magazines that were created solely for advertising or market-share purposes are.”
If Conde Nast is any indication of how the magazine industry is fairing in this economic climate, we’d like say you’re wrong Mr. Sherman. Thankfully we don’t have to say it ourselves, since Conde Nast numbers speak for themselves.