Conde Nast Publications Internet arm CondeNet quietly told staffers last week it will shutter two of its five Web sites. Staffers at health and fitness site Phys.com and women-targeted dating site Swoon.com will be redeployed within the company's other three major Web sites-travel site concierge.com, food site epicurious.com, and style.com-said CondeNet President Sarah Chubb. The move marks a refocusing of Conde Nast's Internet efforts, which, Ms. Chubb said, will now focus on its three major sites-which each draw content from several Conde Nast titles-as well as upcoming sites branded for each of the 16 magazines in the Conde Nast stable. But the magazine sites will have smaller-scale ambitions than the likes of epicurious.com. The magazine sites will all be up by the end of 2001, but Ms. Chubb said: "My core business is destination sites," referring to the three major sites. Of the magazine-branded sites, Ms. Chubb said, "They are companion sites meant to support the magazines." Phys.com's URL will redirect users to the upcoming Self-branded site. Luckymag.com, the companion to Lucky, went up last week.
ABC Unlimited signs first national deal
ABC Unlimited, the new integrated sales unit of ABC, signed its first major national deal, a $10 million-plus integrated partnership with nutritional supplement company, Experimental and Applied Sciences. EAS will have media placed-touting its nutritional bars and protein shake- across 13 ABC/Disney properties.
`The Wall Street Journal' to end regional editions
In a move marking its focus on being a national news franchise, The Wall Street Journal announced last week it would stop publishing its six weekly regional editions. Managing Editor Paul Steiger said, in a memo to Journal staffers, that the paper was faced with either ramping up regional efforts to cover 48 states or shutting them down. "We concluded that the people, space and other resources involved were better devoted to national news and national advertising," Mr. Steiger's memo read. The move will eliminate 34 jobs. The Journal launched its regional editions with Texas Journal in 1993, which was followed by editions covering Florida, California, the Southeast, the Northwest and New England.
Meredith's Little to retire; Isaacson rises at Time Inc.
Chris Little, senior VP of Meredith Corp. and its publishing group president, will retire Dec. 31. The following day at Time Inc., Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson will move up to editorial director of Time Inc., the second-highest editorial post at the company. He will succeed Henry Muller, 53, who became a Time Inc. editor at large in May. Mr. Isaacson, 48, will join Editor in Chief Norman Pearlstine and Corporate Editor Isolde Motley in overseeing Time Inc.'s magazine portfolio. Mr. Isaacson's successor as managing editor of Time is Jim Kelly, 45, the title's deputy managing editor. At Meredith, Mr. Little, 59, won kudos for his stewardship of its magazines in recent years. He will be succeeded as publishing group president by Stephen M. Lacy, 46, currently president of Meredith's interactive and integrated marketing groups, titles he will retain. Meredith veteran Jerome Kaplan, 54, was named president of the Magazine Group, and will report to Mr. Lacy.
Cliff Freeman awarded $80 mil Hardee's account
Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, has got the beef again, winning the estimated $80 million Hardee's Food Systems account. Johnson/Ukropina, Irvine, Calif., previously handled. Mr. Freeman, known for having penned the Wendy's tagline "Where's the Beef?" while at the now-defunct Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, pitched Hardee's himself. It is the largest fast-food account for the Freeman shop since it lost Little Caesar Enterprises several years ago.
CBS, ABC join family programming group
The Family Friendly Programming Forum, a group of 43 major advertisers, is adding two new broadcast partners to its stable: CBS and ABC. Last year, WB teamed up with the group, getting a $1 million script development deal. This resulted in a new 1-hour WB show this season, "The Gilmore Girls." The WB will continue to be part of the forum's efforts this year. The forum's Script Development Fund received money commitments from 13 members for 2001: AT&T Corp., FedEx Corp., IBM Corp., Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's Corp., Merck & Co., Nationwide, Pfizer and Pfizer's Warner-Lambert Co., Procter & Gamble Co., Tyson Foods, Unilever U.S. and Wendy's International.
Berry Brown to close following investigation
Berry Brown Advertising, Dallas, will close following an investigation of misappropriated funds and the apparent suicide of its chief financial officer. "It was a total revelation," James Hradecky, president-creative director, said of the investigation. "The agency has been well-respected in the community," he said. The 49-person office will likely remain open through mid-December. "We are working with clients and vendors to come to resolution and are finishing projects in the works," he said.