Condé Publisher Mentions Magazine ‘Profitability,’ Staffers Go Nuts

Could other nonprofitable titles really go the way of Portfolio?

"We have to run profitable businesses," Condé Nast publisher Chuck Townsend said in a meeting this week. It should have been an innocuous comment, but this is Condé Nast we're talking about — a luxury-magazine company where there have always been a couple of "profitable" titles and then many others that were, you know, "emerging," or "developmental," or "just to be fancy." And with McKinsey & Co. in the building helping the venerable publishing giant streamline and cut costs, well, this sent everyone into a tailspin — even though we've heard from a source close to the company that actual title-shutting is most likely not on the table. "He's never commented about profitability in a public setting!" one attendee of the meeting shrieked to Observer reporter John Koblin. "This is historic!" moaned another company vet. "We've never once had to think like this." Another howled: "There are no sacred cows!" It's almost enough to make you, well, not feel bad for these people.

McKinsey Still a Mystery at Condé Nast [NYO]
Related: Si Newhouse’s Dream Factory [NYM]