After only bringing in about 3% of its ad revenue online last year, Condé Nast Publications may finally start to play catch up with the number of big businesses reaping profits from the digital world. "We really haven't put a lot of effort against [digital expansion], if you're just simply honest," Condé Nast President-CEO Charles H. Townsend admitted to Ad Age. "This economic experience that we are going through has sobered us up considerably. To get back to double-digit growth, we have to put our digital assets to work hard. I am hoping that the print business will recover to double-digit growth, but I am convinced that the digital business will grow exponentially."
The company has long relied on the success of ad revenue from its print magazines, such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Glamour, to sustain profit flow – but ad pages in Vogue’s December issue were down 22.3%. Now, Conde Nast is attempting to enter the digital fray by abolishing CondéNet, a 13-year-old system which sells ad space on sites like Style.com and many of the magazines’ companion sites. It will be consolidated into Condé Nast Digital, which could help the company make more revenue online.
“They're actually, of all the publishing companies, getting the least amount of digital money from us," an executive at one major advertiser told AA. "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."