For readers who can’t get enough Vogue through its website, digital and print issues, Conde Nast announces a searchable database chronicling the magazine’s 120-year, 2,800-issue history. According to reports, the Vogue Archive houses over 425,000 images, 300,000 advertisements and 100,000 articles. The Archive is available to users for an annual subscription price of $1,575.
Features include search options by articles, images and advertisements; deeper searches can be conducted through a decade timeline, as well as by issue, brand, designer, photographer, personality, color, material and clothing. Subscribers can also print and share content.
The Archive will be continuously updated with new monthly content from the latest issue of the magazine.
“The sharing capability happens through links. Every page and spread has a corresponding URL. Users may also choose to share a folder of favorites, which generates a URL for that folder. They can un-link or change the link to their favorites folder at any time,” Matt Dellinger, director of the Vogue Archive project, tells FOLIO:. “In order to follow a link and see the page, spread or favorites folder that has been shared, a recipient must also be a member. In part because of this, we don’t have Facebook or Twitter links built in. A user can post a URL, of course, but anyone who sees a link on social media would encounter a paywall if not a member.”
Users are also able create folders for collaborative projects, which are accessible by other Vogue Archive members. This is a live function, with updates instantly viewable by users.
Of the decision to launch the Archive as a website, as opposed to an app model, Dellinger says, “The challenge here is we’re not trying to allow users to keep a couple of issues on a device. The aim is to put the entire archive all together, at your fingertips. It’s completely impractical to store that on a device of any kind.”
Bondi Digital created the viewer and search for the Archive; London-based online fashion research and trend analysis company WGSN will manage the subscription service. For academic institution and library use, ProQuest is hosting the archive through its own platform.
“As we were dreaming this product up, how it would work and what kind of functionality it would include, we reached out to some people. For example, we talked to a prominent set designer that works with a lot of photographers,” says Dellinger. “We sat her down, asked, ‘Do you use old issues of Vogue? What are you looking for when you go to Vogue? Then what do you do?’”
Repackaging content into a searchable archive is not a new move in the magazine publishing industry. Often presented as a service for readers, the content archive also proves to be a profitable use of old content for publishers. Playboy launched a searchable digital archive via DVD-ROM, also produced by Bondi Digital, in 2007. The adult entertainment mag then went live on the web with the archive in 2009, and access was free. In May 2011, Playboy debuted a HTML-based subscription service, offering every published issue since 1953. The previous archives only featured a select group of past issues.
Playboy now charges $8 a month, $60 a year or $100 for bi-yearly archive access. Rolling Stone chose to tack on its archived content as a value add for subscribers. Vogue’s Archive pricing was informed by WGSN’s previous experience with similar products, as well as its production cost.