The New Yorker

Dan Stiffler
Mon, 12 May 2003 20:55:13 -0400

On 5/12/03 6:54 PM, "Brad Hodges" <> wrote:

> As for success, well, that's tricky. Certainly a magazine that is almost
> entirely text and has an intellectual bent that has lasted for seventy-five
> years has to be considered a success. However, it is a money loser. Conde
> Nast (which is in turn owned by Advance Publications, owned by the Newhouse
> family) purchased it a few years ago as more of a prestige item than a cash
> cow. Unless Playboy is purchased in the same manner, it can't duplicate The
> New Yorker's financial model. Therefore, The New Yorker can cling to age-old
> traditions without fear of losing revenue. I'm not sure Playboy can do the
> same. What Playboy can do is take a look at the quality journalism and
> fiction the New Yorker publishes and seek to emulate it.

The fact that we are talking about The New Yorker and PLAYBOY instead of
Maxim and PLAYBOY is a bit of fresh air, at least to me.

I would be interested in knowing what the financial statements for the New
Yorker look like for, say, the last twenty years.  At least to know if
Remnick has in some way stopped or reversed the downward slide.  I am fairly
certain that during the Brown years, they were discounting the subscriptions
heavily (as does PLAYBOY).  They are still discounted, but not as deeply.  I
am guessing that winning a few National Magazine Awards helps with

(Btw, here are this year's award winners:

Parenting for General Excellence (over 2,000,000 circulation)
ESPN The Magazine for General Excellence (1,000,000 to 2,000,000
The Atlantic Monthly for General Excellence (500,000 to 1,000,000
Texas Monthly for General Excellence (250,000 to 500,000 circulation)
Architectural Record for General Excellence (100,000 to 250,000 circulation)
Foreign Policy for General Excellence (under 100,000 circulation)
Outside for Personal Service
National Geographic Adventure for Leisure Interests
The New Yorker for Reporting
The Atlantic Monthly for Public Interest
Harper¹s Magazine for Feature Writing
The Nation for Columns and Commentary
The American Scholar for Essays
Vanity Fair for Reviews and Criticism
Sports Illustrated for Profile Writing
Scientific American for Single-topic Issue
Details for Design
Condé Nast Traveler for Photography
The New Yorker for Fiction
Slate for General Excellence Online

FWIW, The Atlantic, Harper's and The New Yorker--five awards right
there--are the magazines that PLAYBOY used to claim company with.)

Also, there is some parallel to PLAYBOY's position within its corporation.
>From what we have read, PLAYBOY has not been the main cash cow for quite
some time (although last year the magazine apparently did show a small
profit).  It doesn't need to be a cash cow if the other parts of the company
are money makers.  But I think most people would agree that, if the magazine
continues downhill, it will take the rest of the company with it.  It can
afford to lose some money, as long as it keeps the brand appeal healthy.
That health is what we are here for.

Condé Nast can afford to have The New Yorker as one prestige title in its
family of magazines.  PLAYBOY is the patriarch of PEI.


Dan Stiffler