Conde Nast: ‘Should Have Cut Back 20 Percent’

The signs of Conde Nast’s empire cracking have been leaking out for months now. The five percent cuts. The lack of a Web strategy. The shuttering of and Domino. Layoffs. Struggles at The New Yorker. And so on.

But in today’s New York Post, Keith Kelly takes a hard look at the reality of publishing’s most glamorous house and the picture isn’t pretty.

“They are overstaffed and overpaid,” Kelly quotes one former Conde employee as saying. “They should have cut back 20 percent when they cut back five.”

Ad pages at many of the titles are down over 30 percent, with Portfolio down 60 percent and Wired 57 percent behind last year. Expect more closings before the end of the year.

Our take: Conde had this coming. It’s been a wildly mismanaged business — outsized salaries, huge expense accounts, no ability to adjust the Internet, — that could only survive in boom times. We’ll miss Wired as much as the next person, but it’s hard to feel bad if the company fails to make any money.