Carlo Vittorini, publisher of Parade magazine, dies at 94

Carlo Vittorini, publisher of Parade magazine, dies at 94

Carlo Vittorini, who, as publisher, guided Parade magazine, a nearly ubiquitous weekly Sunday newspaper supplement, to revenue and circulation heights, died June 25 at his summer home in Nantucket, Mass. He was 94 years old.

His wife, Nancy Vittorini, said the cause was congestive heart failure.

Mr. Vittorini spent 50 years in the magazine business, almost all of it when it was flourishing. In 1992, as the parade was growing in popularity, he confidently told Missouri’s St. Joseph News-Press/Gazette: “No one can deliver a message as quickly as we can. Even Time and Newsweek can’t reach the people we can.”

In 1979, he was hired by SI Newhouse Jr., president of Advance Publications, as publisher, president and chief executive of Parade.

The parade had $140 million in advertising revenue when Mr. Vittorini took office; In 1994 they raised this number to approximately $450 million, when a full-page ad cost $640,000 (equivalent to about $1.3 million today), comparable to the price paid for TV commercials.

“We are the equivalent of Ed Sullivan,” he told Bloomberg Business News in 1995, referring to the host of the Sunday-night television variety show that offered entertainment to the public for 23 years before it ceased broadcasting. 1971. “But our ratings are more stable and our show more predictable each week.”

By 1998, the parade was distributed in approximately 330 newspapers, bringing its circulation to 37.5 million. When Mr Vittorini was appointed it had a circulation of 21.5 million.

By then, the parade was offering a familiar product plucked out of the still-thick Sunday newspapers: Walter Scott’s Personality Parade, a page of questions and answers about celebrities; interviews with Hollywood stars from former New York magazine editor James Brady; columns by Marilyn Vos Savant, who was described by the magazine as having the highest recorded IQ; and advertisements for products such as the Franklin Mint, tobacco companies and the “As Seen on TV” Thighmaster.

Parade faced competition from another Sunday supplement, Family Weekly, which was renamed USA Weekend after its acquisition in 1985 by the Gannett Company, publisher of USA Today. After that acquisition, 123 papers moved to Parade and another 13 were owned by Gannett. Switched to USA Weekend.

In the San Diego market, the afternoon newspaper, The San Diego Tribune, decided to distribute USA Weekend, while the morning newspaper, The San Diego Union, continued to cover the parade. Mr. Vittorini recalled meeting with the newspaper’s owner, Helen Copley, and telling her that he wanted the parade to be exclusive to all of its markets. They warned him that if he did not remove USA Weekend from The Tribune, he would stop distributing it in The Union.

He wrote in an unpublished memoir, “Somewhat arrogantly, he told me, ‘Young man, how dare you tell me how to run my own newspaper! ‘” “And as politely as possible, I replied, ‘Mrs. Copley, I promise I won’t tell you how to run your newspaper if you don’t tell me how to run my magazine.’ Success: USA Weekend eliminated.

Carlo Vittorini was born in Philadelphia on February 28, 1929 and grew up in Haverford, PA. His father, Domenico, an Italian immigrant, was professor of Romance languages ​​at the University of Pennsylvania; His mother, Helen (Whitney) Vittorini, a homemaker, met her future husband when she took one of his classes.

Carlo graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in English. He began his career in promotional work, then became merchandising manager at The Saturday Evening Post in 1956 and sales representative at Look magazine in 1958. For a dozen years, starting in 1965, he worked at Redbook magazine, where he became publisher. and the President.

In 1977, she was appointed president of the Charter Company’s magazine group, which included Redbook, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Sport Magazine. A year later, he was hired to start a new magazine division at Harlequin Enterprises, a Toronto-based company known for publishing romance novels.

After barely a year at Harlequin, Mr. Vittorini was offered a job at Parade by Mr. Newhouse, whose company also published Vogue, Glamour, House & Garden and other magazines. Mr. Vittorini recalled that Mr. Newhouse handed him a three-ring binder of notes he had made about the parade in the three years after it was bought by Advance Publications.

“That evening, when I read his comments,” Mr. Vittorini said in his memoir, “I realized that, despite his proficiency in the traditional magazine field, although he knew there was a problem, he was not interested in this non-traditional broadcast magazine.” Was missing the solution.”

He said the parade’s unexpected results improved rapidly, partly because he got more newspapers to distribute the magazine, which helped raise advertising rates.

He told the editor and publisher In 1999: “We had some very basic goals, and it started with improving the product both intellectually and physically. Newspaper relations needed to be reformed and we did it. With it came advertising revenue.

In addition to his wife, who was Nancy Coleman when he married her, Mr. Vittorini is survived by his son, Stephen; their daughter, Lynn Vaughn; his stepdaughter, Ashley Frisbee; his stepson, Frank Coleman; and five grandchildren. His marriage to Alice Hellerman ended in divorce.

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