INTERNATIONAL: MEDIUM OF THE MONTH - Lisa Granatstein assesses the New Yorker’s fortunes following the resignation of Tina Brown

The New Yorker was the talk of the town last month after its editor, Tina Brown, walked away from owner S.I. Newhouse Junior’s offer of another five years at the helm. It was an act unheard of in the magazine’s 73-year history. Its three former editors had either died or were removed from their posts. Brown has chosen instead to align her fate with Disney’s Miramax Films. David Remnick, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is her successor.

The New Yorker was the talk of the town last month after its

editor, Tina Brown, walked away from owner S.I. Newhouse Junior’s offer

of another five years at the helm. It was an act unheard of in the

magazine’s 73-year history. Its three former editors had either died or

were removed from their posts. Brown has chosen instead to align her

fate with Disney’s Miramax Films. David Remnick, a Pulitzer

Prize-winning author, is her successor.



The magazine has a venerable history, offering readers provocative

articles by the likes of Dorothy Parker, JD Salinger and Truman Capote,

but it has not had an easy ride. By the early 90s, the once vibrant

magazine grew tired, circulation fell and advertising dwindled.



During her tenure, which began in 1992, Brown turned the New Yorker into

a must-read for the cultural and political elite. However, although

Brown’s sweeping changes brought the New Yorker kicking and screaming

into the 90s, the weekly has failed to turn a profit.



While circulation rose from 659,000 in late 1992 to 807,935 in the

second half of 1997, ad revenue has continued its downward spiral,

despite substantial spend from upmarket advertisers such as

Mercedes-Benz. Its low ratecard, cheap subscription rate, lavish expense

accounts and costly kill fees have all contributed to the magazine’s red

ink. Last year, it reportedly lost dollars 11 million.



Newhouse, apparently, has had enough. Although the New Yorker

traditionally has been independent from his other 15 titles such as

Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, which fall under the Conde Nast Publications

umbrella, this is no longer the case.



In May, Steven Florio, president and chief executive of Conde Nast

Publications, demoted his younger brother, Tom, from president/publisher

of the New Yorker to publisher of Conde Nast Traveler, replacing him

with David Carey, publisher of Conde Nast House & Garden. Now, Florio is

in the midst of absorbing the magazine into the company’s fold,

streamlining the title’s back-office operations, reportedly planning to

increase its ratecard and selling ad pages in packages with other Conde

Nast titles. With Carey in place, and Remnick poised to take over, the

magazine has a chance to refocus.



The New Yorker

Cover price:                  dollars 3

One year subscription rate:   U.S.dollars 39.95

Total circulation:            807,935

Of which subscriptions are:   758,970

Ad rate for four-colour page: dollars 64,930

Ad rate for mono page:        dollars 40,700



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