"They're not going to expect you to grow your way out of these [difficulties]…You're going to have to make your business work the way things are now."
So said an anonymous Condé Nast senior executive recently, concerning the state of play at the troubled publishing house.
The same executive "speculated that editors and publishers of Condé Nast's various titles "could be asked to reduce spending by as much as 25%," according to Advertising Age.
I've commented here before about the situation at Condé Nastbut here's the quick recap: back in July, the firm called in consulting powerhouse McKinsey to assess the various strands of its business (read: individual magazine titles), and identify potential cost savings. The results of that assessment are now in, and editors and publishers at the group have reportedly been asked to set aside time in the near future for budget meetings that will govern their expenditure over the course coming year. Change, it would appear, is finally afoot.
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Looking in from the outside, what's most instructive about the goings on at Condé Nast isn't the minutiae—the spectacle of who or what gets cut from the empire to reduce its costs—but the fact that it's taken so long for the firm to get around to even considering cuts in any sort of substantive way. Sure, there was a mandated 5 percent budget cut back in 2008—an event that garnered more media attention for the reduction in the quality of corporate refreshments than for the handful of layoffs it produced—but it does seem a little strange that the company is only now getting down to the brass tacks of serious reform. I mean, the recession's already over, right Mr. Bernanke?