And what a day it is. The McKinsey consultants have completed their audit and Conde Nast may actually be cut down in size to a normal publishing company. A Business Week memo leaked out promising 20% staff cuts. Poor Jon Fine (actually, not so poor) may not have a place to return to after he and his wife take off on sabbatical traveling the world in search of the one or two most interesting media personalities in Slobovia. Everybody is running for cover.
So the Reaper has sharpened its blade to look ahead at what magazines are most likely heading for the graveyard this fall. It's a perfect storm of lost ads and sinking newsstand, and the Reaper is waiting to see who goes overboard first.
CONDE NAST: Forget the elimination of petty perks like replenishing the pencil supply. Does the world need two foodie magazines and three bridal magazines, which are all down by huge numbers of ad pages, published by the same company? Gourmet (-42%), Bon Appetit (-31.9%), Brides, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride (-39.2%) are all very likely suspects to join the Reaper. W magazine, a pick-up from Fairchild, is staggering and redundant with a 46% ad page loss. Teen Vogue is the last teen mag standing, but that hasn't helped them either (-35.5%).
KIPLINGER'S PERSONAL FINANCE VS. SMART MONEY: While everybody has been focusing on Business Week's sale, they forgot about the number two and three books in the personal finance/business category. Put in perspective, Business Week averages about 27 to 28 pages a week, and they are losing a ton of money. Kiplinger's and Smart Money carry about the same amount of ad pages every monthly issue. How long can they fight a losing battle on that kind of revenue with personal finance advice being pushed out on the web on a daily basis by every yahoo, like Yahoo's Personal Finance section?
LIFE & STYLE: Most likely victim of the oversaturated gossip market. With newsstand off 7% and ad pages almost down 35%, Bauer could be better off putting all its celebrity eggs in the In Touch basket.
BOATING, POWER & MOTOR YACHT: Vroom! Vroom! Pfffftttttt. Kill the engine. The deadly duo which are primed to sink in an ocean of lost ad pages and readers. Boating magazine has already shed nearly 47% of its ad pages from last year. Brunswick, which owns outboard motor company Mercury Marine, has lost 80% of its sales. According to the trade rag Soundings, "The total fiberglass market for all lengths was down 30.6 percent on 53,210 units for the quarter. Ski boat sales dropped 32.3 percent to 2,807 units. Deckboat sales were down 39.2 percent on sales of 2,277 units."
THE SHELTER CATEGORY: How about playing a game of "... And Then There Were None?" The leading ad pages losers are Architectural Digest (-49.3%), Veranda (-47.3%), and the independent San Francisco-based Dwell (-45%). Sadly, this last one seems like the one to go with no big sugar daddies to provide a multi-title safety net. It's only a matter of time before AD editor-in-chief Paige Rense, who is already in the rumor mill to be pushed out, devotes those beautiful color pages to mansions in foreclosure.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER: High priced travel is out, businesses are ordering employees to go coach, airlines are cutting back flights and hotels are sitting empty. NG Traveler sits behind Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, who are both suffering badly (especially the former), making them a likely Reaper victim.
TOWN & COUNTRY: Is flaunting wealth a cultural paradigm of the past? Hearst can easily pull the plug on this old school paean to crazy money (down almost 48%), which seems past its prime.
CREAKY RIGHT WING AND LEFT WING MAGAZINES: The National Review in one corner, and the New Republic in the other. Vanity projects? Absolutely. The New Republic has the distinction of carrying the mighty total of seven -- yes, that is the number 7 -- ad pages in the September 7th issue. That's the sort of reverse karma from the Beatles on 9/9/09. Don't laugh, National Review, you've got 15.
MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: Ah, leisure reading for the Mensa crowd. However, stupid people rule in the United States, so the best they could come up with is 21 ad pages for their September/October issue. That's 10.5 ad pages a month. It's time to call in Mr. Peabody and Sherman!
LATE BREAKING NEWS: Magazine overboard! Bonnier has sunk Boating Life magazine and is offering Boating subscriptions in its place. The Reaper thinks this is just the warm up act.