Commentary

Conde Nast To Sell 3 Titles After Tough Year, Wintour to Stay

Will the era of publishers supporting deep stables of titles come to an end? Before it was finally sold to Meredith, Time Inc. focused on unloading some of its smaller properties along with Time Inc UK. 

Since then, former Time titles like Sunset, Essence and Golf have all been sold, with flagship Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune now on the auction block. 

In line with this trend, Condé Nast announced earlier this week that it would explore the sale of three of its titles: Brides, Golf Digest, and perhaps most surprising, W.

The announcement follows an analysis by Boston Consulting Group, which spent months reviewing the company’s dealings and options. A meeting with senior staff members is planned for August 8, when Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., CEO of Condé Nast, will address the findings and future plans.  

The new strategy comes after the company recorded $120 million in losses in 2017, following a significant drop in revenue from its print publications and advertising. 

Condé Nast has taken steps to mitigate its losses, including folding Details and the print versions of Self and Teen Vogue, and laying off 80 employees last year; a new round is expected. 

A report by The New York Times notes that Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Vogue are all safe in the shakeup, though Vanity Fair and The New Yorker are expected to move from 1 World Trade Center, so the company can lease the property. Despite swirling rumors about her departure, Vogue EIC Anna Wintour will stay n her role indefinitely. 

The moves made by Condé Nast speak to a new way media companies must position themselves in order to survive.

Over the past few years, Condé Nast has made molded itself into a digital publishing and content force with the launch of Spire, acquisition of CitizenNet and launch of its Next Gen Network Platform, which focuses heavily on producing and promoting digital content across titles like Teen Vogue, Healthyish and GQ Style.

The platform grew from video aggregation platform The Scene. Popular shows include Broken and Affirmations

On average, the company produces 417 videos each month, which it broadcasts across social media and its proprietary websites, accompanied by commercials. To date, the efforts have been successful. 

Per The New York Times, Sauerberg stated in an companywide email earlier this summer: “We crossed an important milestone. Our web and video businesses have grown so significantly, their revenue surpassed print for the first time in the company’s history.” 

Other companies are reporting similar fiscal results. 

Condé Nast hasn’t demurred when forced to make tough decisions in today’s media landscape. Though, one hopes cuts, closures and sales won’t be made too hastily, as the company dedicates itself to sustaining its digital future.

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