OLD Media Moves

Fixing Fast Company magazine

April 2, 2006

Media Life Magazine writer Barton Biggs has an article about Fast Company magazine and what is being done to fix the once high-flying business publication. His focus is on an interview with the ad sales director, but he also has some interesting points about the magazine. The magazine hopes to return to 2001 ad sales levels by 2009, which means it would be breaking even, or near that point, according to the article.

Fast CompanyBiggs writes, “Joe Mansueto, founder and CEO of the Chicago investment research firm Morningstar, purchased the magazine last July, along with Inc., but Fast Company ad pages have continued to slide under the new ownership, amid what seemed like a flurry of staff changes and false starts.

The magazine finished 2005 down nearly 20 percent in ad pages, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Over the first two months of this year, pages were down 53 percent compared to the year-earlier period, though at least some of that is explained by the fact that it published a double issue this year.

“[Mansueto Ventures publishing director Jay] Goldberg, who joined Mansueto last September after serving as publisher of Men’s Fitness, says much of Fast Company’s problems are in fact left over from its days under G+J.

“‘There was a lot to clean up here,’ he says. ‘Either by default or by design, there were a lot problems.’

“He prefers to look beyond the PIB numbers, as discouraging as they may be. ‘It’s about more than ad pages for us right now,’ he insists. ‘PIB is not our No. 1 success metric for 2006.’

“He says Mansueto is totally committed to investing in the magazine, and he has the money to pull it off. ‘There’s virtually no area of the magazine where we’re cutting costs.’

Read the article here.

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