OLD Media Moves

Insights into the upcoming Conde Nast biz magazine

March 29, 2006

Women’s Wear Daily has a story in this morning’s Memo Pad about the upcoming Conde Nast business magazine in light of the recent interest in busines coverage seen with the launch of Dealbreaker.com.

The Memo Pad notes, “Indeed, the Condé Nast title has, from the start, been discussed partly as a lifestyle approach to the business world, and there are already signs that other titles in the set are shifting to occupy that space before the magazine reaches newsstands. Business Week recently poached Forbes’ lifestyle editor, Charles Dubow, and evidently will do more soft consumer coverage. Fortune, for its part, is bringing in the editors of sister title In Style to produce a 24-page insert for the May 29 ‘Future of Hollywood’ issue. The section will include an eight-page feature on entertainment industry decision-makers, said Charla Lawhon, In Style’s managing editor. ‘It’s fun for us because we know these people behind the scenes, but we usually don’t get a chance to cover them,’ she said.

Joanne Lipman“Timing isn’t the only worry expressed by close observers of the Condé Nast project. Several people who’ve had casual conversations with [Editor Joanne] Lipman about potential jobs at the new magazine walked away confused. ‘I just couldn’t understand what they were trying to do,’ said one. For instance, while business executives at Condé Nast have evidently been suggesting the Web component of the project would likely break news, Lipman has been referencing it as more of a companion site to the magazine, with ‘little nuggets’ posted throughout the day. (To be fair, a spokeswoman for the title said Lipman has been purposely vague in early meetings and she is not yet ready to unveil her ideas.)”

I recently had a conversation with someone who knows about the Conde Nast project. Here is some information I was able to glean about the project:

1. The name of the magazine will likely be Conde Nast Business, similar to Conde Nast Traveler.

2. The articles will be longer than the typical business magazine and more in line with what someone would read in the New Yorker.

3. Lipman, whose background is at the Wall Street Journal with personal finance and the launch of the Weekend Journal, is not strong in hard-hitting, more in-depth business reporting, which is what some at Conde Nast and its parent would like to emphasize.

4. Although the biz magazines right now are hurting for advertising, the people at Conde Nast and its parent believe now is the time to launch a new publication in the field because the competitors are weaker than they were five years ago.

Read the WWD daily piece here.

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