Revenue Grew at Condé Nast But Shy of Target

From a New York Times story by Katie Robertson headlined “Revenue Grew at Condé Nast Last Year, but Shy of Target”:

Roger Lynch, the chief executive of Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, said Friday that the company’s business grew last year, but narrowly missed its revenue target.

Mr. Lynch said the company ended 2022 with positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, a widely used financial measure. “We are not targeting to become hugely profitable right now, but we are targeting to have cash flow that enables us to reinvest in the growth areas,” he said.

Mr. Lynch declined to give specific figures for overall revenue and profit. But his comments provided a glimpse of the health of the company’s business. Condé Nast, which is a unit of the privately held Advance Publications, doesn’t publicly disclose its financial results and only occasionally discusses them.

His comments echoed a note sent to Condé Nast staff members on Thursday, in which Mr. Lynch said advertising revenue had grown year over year, while video views increased by “double digits.”

“This is an incredible collective achievement and a testament to your resilience and hard work,” he wrote.

In the interview, Mr. Lynch said the company had fallen shy of its annual revenue target by less than 1 percent, amid challenges that included closing its business in Russia and the effects of long lockdowns in China. The consumer business, a key growth area that includes subscriptions and e-commerce, such as partnerships and brand collaborations, did not quite meet its goal.

“Our e-commerce business grew close to 20 percent year over year,” Mr. Lynch said. “We had a goal of slightly higher than that, but in hindsight it was a little unrealistic.” He added that subscriptions were “slightly below” their target in 2022.

But, he said, “we grew our revenues, grew our advertising business — I don’t think there are very many companies like ours that can say that.”

Condé Nast had revenue of nearly $2 billion in 2021. Mr. Lynch has told The Wall Street Journal that the company had turned a profit in 2021 for the first time in years.

In 2022, total revenue grew again, though it did not cross the $2 billion threshold.

The company in recent years was losing $100 million annually. Mr. Lynch, who was brought on board in 2019, has presided over an effort to consolidate operations globally and diversify revenue streams.

The results stand in contrast to many other media companies. CNN, Vice, Gannett, Vox Media and NPR have all announced layoffs in recent months, citing weaker advertising revenue.

On Thursday, Mr. Lynch announced in the company memo that Jackie Marks, the chief financial officer, would leave in early March. Ms. Marks has held the role since March 2021. Mr. Lynch declined to comment further on the circumstances of her departure.

Katie Robertson is a Times media reporter. She previously worked as an editor and reporter at Bloomberg and News Corporation Australia.

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