Conde Nast Magazines Can Finally Sell Their Own Websites

Publishers Take Over Ad Sales That Were Handled by Conde Nast Digital and by CondeNet Before That

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NEW YORK ( -- Conde Nast, the publisher of magazines from Vogue to The New Yorker, is integrating many of the digital operations that had been handled by the Conde Nast Digital division since 2009 and by CondeNet for many years before that.

Conde Nast Digital will continue to exist, but in diminished form.
Conde Nast Digital will continue to exist, but in diminished form.
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Ad sales for websites attached to individual magazines will now be handled by the magazines themselves instead of Conde Nast Digital, the company said. And the Conde Nast Media Group lead by Conde CMO Lou Cona will take over responsibility for ad sales across sites.

Drew Schutte, senior VP and chief revenue officer at Conde Nast Digital, was named exec VP and chief integration officer at Conde Nast Media Group, reporting to Mr. Cona. Josh Stinchcomb, publisher for the internet sales group, was named VP of digital sales at Conde Nast, reporting to Mr. Cona.

Conde Nast Digital will continue to exist but in diminished form, focusing on corporate strategies for digital growth and the company's "emerging" digital businesses, including, Epicurious, the Gourmet Live iPad app and Reddit. It will also retain editorial oversight at Sarah Chubb, the president of Conde Nast Digital and CondeNet before it, continues in that role.

Marketers and publishers applaud
Marketers and ad buyers said ad sales, whether digital or print, belonged with Conde Nast's brands, not a separate silo. "It belongs with the publishers because you're selling your brand to a consumer, however they want to read the content," an executive at one advertiser said. "We're not P&G buying eyeballs. We're not about ad networks and stuff like that. It's about reaching the consumer in the right environment and if they choose to do that digitally, then so be it. So it's easier if you're working the deal through the publisher as opposed to having separate conversations."

A former Conde Nast publisher said the move was overdue. "We all thought on the front lines, those of us on the brands, felt that the digital should move under the publisher who was responsible for them," the former Conde publisher said. "The market's expecting integration."

Similar moves at Martha Stewart, media agencies
The move at Conde comes amid similar changes at other media companies and agencies. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said today that it plans to integrate its media sales and marketing so every member of its team will sell across print, digital, TV and radio. Sally Preston, group publisher at the company, was named to lead those efforts as exec VP for media sales and marketing, succeeding Janet Balis, who is leaving as part of the change, the company said.

Last week Zenith Media merged its magazine practice with its digital division. And earlier this month MediaVest USA's publishing group hired a digital specialist to fill the new post of senior VP-director of digital publishing solutions.

CondeNet was born in 1995.
CondeNet was born in 1995.
Long held digital at a distance
For many years Conde Nast held digital media at arm's length. CondeNet had actually operated independently of Conde Nast, as a unit of Conde parent Advance Communications, for most of its life. It only became a unit of Conde Nast in 2005.

In January 2009, Conde Nast eliminated CondeNet and created Conde Nast Digital as a successor unit, which incorporated CondeNet functions like selling ad space on destination sites like and most of the magazines' companion sites with other pockets of digital activity at the company, such as and the website for the now-defunct Portfolio magazine. But plenty of things remained the same: Conde Nast Digital, for example, handled day-to-day contact with digital advertisers.

One advertiser said at the time, however, that maintaining any separate digital unit at all may have been undermining Conde's digital efforts. "They're actually, of all the publishing companies, getting the least amount of digital money from us," an executive at the advertiser said. "They don't really push it in meetings in the way that publishers do at other publishers. Maybe that's because they've got that separate digital group over there."

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