Condé Nast may be shrinking in the US, but overseas, it’s growing. On January 28, Condé Nast International is launching a B2B publication called Vogue Business, its first centrally developed global title.
The editor is Lauren Indvik, who was head of news and features at Vogue International and previously was editor-in-chief of Fashionista. She reports to Ciara Byrne, director of business development at Condé Nast International. The publication is based in London and has a dedicated editorial staff of six that’s slated to grow to 24 by the end of the year.
“There is a great hunger for a fashion and luxury B2B publication in regards to how it changes not just marketing and sales and retail but the product itself,” Wolfgang Blau, president of Condé Nast International, told Business Insider.
Some of the key points:
It’s B2B. It’s tough out there for consumer outlets, but business media has been a bright spot in publishing.
It’ll be subscription-based. There’s no advertising, at least for now, but the plan is to add a subscription element and adjacent services like research and events as well as another language, Blau said.
It’s starting as a newsletter. The newsletter is a format that’s become popular because it’s associated with engagement overreach. There also will be a website where past newsletters can be found, and a presence on LinkedIn and Instagram.
New publications traditionally are launched in secret, but Vogue Business was tested for eight months under the name Perspectives, growing to 7,000 subscribers.
“The way we developed it is not typical Condé Nast,” Blau said. “When you have these super brands, there’s this risk. But we knew you cannot develop a digital product behind closed doors, which is why we did this with a beta.”
The launch comes as the international arm takes on greater importance relative to its US counterpart, where $120 million in losses in 2017 have taken some of the sheen off the glossy magazine empire. Speculation swirled last year that Anna Wintour, Vogue’s all-powerful longtime editor and also the company’s chief artistic director, was heading for the exit. The company refuted that at the time, saying she was staying “indefinitely.”
Meanwhile, print magazines are still thriving overseas. Blau said Condé Nast International was profitable in 2018 and would make a profit again this year.
The US and international arms historically operated separately but have begun integrating their operations, merging their tech, product, and licensing teams; rolling out a common CMS across all the titles; selling ads together; and sharing editorial content. Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg is stepping down and the company is looking for a new global CEO who will oversee both entities.
Blau said the decision to launch Vogue Business was made by Sauerberg and Jonathan Newhouse, his international counterpart; and the board of Condé Nast parent company Advance. While the title will draw on the expertise of Vogue’s 23 editions around the world, it will notably run independently of the US-based namesake and Wintour. Blau said it was important that Vogue Business be editorially independent and global.
“We want our clients to have clarity of this being a separate and independent team,” he said. “We realize with B2B products the product has to be global. It doesn’t make sense for new global teams to be built in New York necessarily.”
Condé Nast International isn’t done launching new titles, either. There are two new editions of Vogue on the way, in Greece and Hong Kong. Blau said the company also plans to do more conferences and brand licensing.
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