W, the hefty fashion bible known for publishing the adventurous work of top-tier photographers, had long been one of the magazine industry’s most august titles. While it costs less to run than Vogue, it is nevertheless expensive.
Now, it appears to be in serious trouble.
“The bottom has dropped out of the luxury market,” Marc Lotenberg, the chief executive of W’s parent company, Future Media Group, said on Wednesday evening. This, he said, has put the title in “survival” mode.
On Monday, the magazine’s editor, Sara Moonves, called her staff to tell them that many were being furloughed. Those who work on online content are staying on at reduced salaries.
Mr. Lotenberg blamed the economic upheaval caused by the new coronavirus pandemic for much of the magazine’s troubles, though he did not deny that payments to vendors have been late since January, acknowledging that numerous independent contractors have not been paid for their services. (He blamed this in part on the launch of a Chinese edition of W, which was scheduled for January and has now been moved to September.)
The magazine’s next print issue, previously scheduled for publication in the beginning of May, is being postponed indefinitely. Future Media Group’s most recent chief financial officer, Sam Recenello, just departed the company.
Many of the people on the editorial team remain hopeful that another buyer might emerge to take the title, founded in 1972, off Mr. Lotenberg’s hands. Even he seems to be open