The publisher of Newsweek magazine and the Daily Beast website, Ray Chelstowski, is leaving, and the company is installing former CBS Interactive executive Eric Danetz as senior vice president of sales, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The move, effective immediately, signals the owner's dissatisfaction with the advertising performance of the magazine, which despite some recent momentum has continued to pile up losses since it changed hands last year. Newsweek and the Daily Beast are owned jointly by IAC/Interactive Corp. and the estate of stereo tycoon Sidney Harman.
The two properties were combined last year and Tina Brown was made editor-in-chief of the merged operation. At the time of the tie-up, executives said the deal would get both properties to profitability sooner than if they continued as independent entities. That was based partly on plans to sell advertising for both properties through an integrated sales strategy. Last year, Newsweek lost about $20 million and the Daily Beast lost about $10 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Danetz has been vice president of sales at CBS Interactive for the past four years.
Newsweek has picked up the pace of ad sales in the roughly eight months since it was re-launched under Brown.
Before the re-launch, Newsweek was averaging about nine advertising pages per issue, about half as many as the magazine was drawing in the same period in 2010, according to Media Industry Newsletter, which tracks magazine advertising. Since then, the publication has averaged over 19 pages an issue, about flat compared to the same period a year earlier, though this year there were several more double-issues printed, according to MIN.
Newsweek notes that October ad pages were up 10% compared to a year ago and that the magazine is on pace to post an increase of 11% in November. The publication also said subscription renewals since the redesign are up 2.6% and that newsstand sales since then are up 20%.
Still, through the Nov. 7 issue, ad pages in Newsweek were down about 21% year-to-date compared to the same period a year earlier, according to MIN.
Harman died earlier this year, though his family said it would retain its 50% interest in the company and pledged its commitment to it.
This story first appeared on WSJ.com