PHILADELPHIA — Fortune is embarking on an ambitious redesign of its business magazine, as a vicious advertising slump is forcing the publication to cut the number of issues published and ditch old standbys like CEO covers to become more competitive.
Fortune, a publication of Time Inc., said it will be publishing 18 issues a year, down from 25, starting in January.
Changes will affect its U.S., European and Asian editions. Staff cuts are possible as well, although the company declined to be more specific.
Fortune’s advertising revenue declined 26 percent to $52 million in the third quarter from a year ago, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. As a business publication, Fortune was pummeled by a slump in the auto and finance sectors.
The changes at Fortune come as other business publications have been under siege. Last week, Bloomberg LP bought the struggling BusinessWeek magazine for $2 million to $5 million in cash. Earlier in the year, Conde Nast Publications shuttered its Portfolio business magazine.
Fortune, hoping to avoid such duress, is banking on a top-to-bottom redesign. The look of the magazine will become more expensive and inviting, with wider spaces and more photographs and a heavier paper stock with a matte finish.
On average, each issue will have 8 to 12 pages more than the old Fortune. Issues tend to run over 100 pages.
Editorial content will be revised as well, with emphasis on fewer, but more in-depth stories about the biggest companies, top movers and shakers and most relevant issues of the day. The magazine also will focus on more investigative stories.
It will ditch covers of CEOs for which it is known, instead favoring conceptual images. Last month, Fortune hired John Korpics, known for his redesign of Esquire and InStyle magazines, as its new creative director.
Fortune is adding more columns with useful information to its readers, such as one on careers. The magazine said feedback from focus groups gathered at the beginning of the year showed that readers wanted information such as how to be a better executive or manage their careers.
Fortune said newsstand and subscription prices won’t change after the redesign.
The publication also is looking at how to make money from its Fortune 500 list, both as a brand and as a database.
Fortune.com will sport changes as well, but the magazine didn’t give details. Fortune declined to comment on whether it will eventually charge for online access.
Time Inc. is a unit of New York-based Time Warner Inc.