How Long, Mr. Newhouse: Conde Nast’s Gloss in Digital Age

A long profile of Si Newhouse and Conde Nast in the Sunday Business section of the New York Times today, touching on issues such as succession, magazine companies’ relevance in this digital age, and the company’s own online mojo.

Here’s the business side of it: “Conde also consistently sells more ads than its competitors and at higher prices, though some of its magazines make little or no profit. Even so, spending money to make money, and focusing on premium products to attract readers and advertisers, has clearly worked for more than a decade, though its margins are thin compared with those of its competitors. Conde executives say it generates close to $5 billion in revenue, has operating margins of around 10 percent and profits of about half that. Analysts and bankers say that Advance as a whole, which carries no debt, is worth, conservatively, $15 billion.”

On the issue of succession, Steve Newhouse, who oversees all of parent company Advance’s online operation, debunk the idea of succession as simply finding a replacement for Si: