Peter Kafka

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Condé Makes Another Digital Move: Someone to Sell Ads

Another sign that magazine heavyweight Condé Nast would eventually like to start making money from the Web: It’s appointed someone to run the sales force of its digital properties.

Condé has tapped former Wired publisher and current New Yorker publisher Drew Schutte to be Condé Nast Digital’s chief revenue officer, a newly created position. The appointment follows last month’s (apparently) bloodless reorg of Condé’s digital properties, which are now consolidated under Sarah Chubb. Here’s a summary from Advertising Age’s Nat Ives, who broke the story:

Mr. Schutte was tapped to lead The New Yorker in January 2008 but was never as successful there–in an admittedly terrible year for most magazines–as in his previous role overseeing Wired magazine and Wired Digital. The New Yorker’s ad pages declined 26.8 percent last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Mr. Schutte wouldn’t necessarily have an easier job at Condé Nast Digital. Condé Nast is above all a magazine company, one whose efforts to build revenue online have not gained a lot of traction yet. Condé Nast Digital itself is a new formulation of company strategy in the area.

Condé, publisher of major titles such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, enjoyed a period of double-digit revenue growth earlier this decade, but the recession ended that. The company’s cooler, calmer approach–a departure from earlier years–also seems to have suffered. Last week Condé shut down Domino magazine.”

Ad Age recently estimated that Time Warner’s (TWX) Time Inc., the magazine company that has made the biggest strides in moving its properties online, is making more than 10 percent of its revenues from the Web. Time Warner reported yesterday that Time Inc. had seen a $57 million increase in annual sales from its digital properties last year.

Condé Press Release:

February 5, 2009 (New York, NY) — Drew Schutte has been named Senior Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer of Condé Nast Digital, it was announced today by Charles H. Townsend, President and C.E.O. of Condé Nast.  This newly created position takes effect immediately.

Mr. Schutte will be responsible for all sales and marketing for Condé Nast Digital. He will manage the newly consolidated digital sales team and work closely with the publishers on integrated sales throughout all of the company’s titles.

“Drew has a proven track record of selling online and print—as well as an understanding of the complexity of selling integrated campaigns–which makes him uniquely qualified for the job,” Mr. Townsend said.

Mr. Schutte became VP & Publisher of The New Yorker in January 2007. Previously he was VP & Publishing Director of Wired Media. He joined the magazine in 1994 as West Coast Advertising Manager.  Before joining Wired, Mr. Schutte spent three years at Business Week based in San Francisco. Prior to that he was East Coast Manager for PC Week and West Coast Manager for Inc.

Mr. Townsend also announced that Lisa Hughes is being named Vice President & Publisher of The New Yorker. Her position is effective immediately.

“Lisa is an experienced publisher, a strategic thinker, and an innovative marketer who is inherently well suited to lead the business side of The New Yorker,” Mr. Townsend said.

Ms. Hughes has been Vice President & Publisher of Condé Nast Traveler since 1995 and has guided it through some of its most successful years. In 2008, Condé Nast Traveler was named to both Adweek’s “Hotlist” and Advertising Age’s “A-List.” Previously, she held positions as VP & Publisher of House & Garden, and as Associate Publisher of Vanity Fair.  Ms. Hughes began her career at Condé Nast in sales at Mademoiselle.

Condé Nast, a unit of Advance Publications, includes twenty-three consumer magazines, Condé Nast Digital, the Fairchild Fashion Group, Parade, the Condé Nast Media Group, and the Shared Services Centers.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work