Fact Check: Vanity Fair’s Numbers Are Not “Way Down, Big Trouble, Dead!”
Vanity Fair’s new subscriptions increased 100 fold after the president-elect tweeted without evidence that the magazine is failing.
“This was the highest number of subscriptions sold in a single day ever at Condé Nast,” a Condé Nast spokesperson tells Folio:.
Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2016
Trump’s tweet was seemingly in response to an article by Tina Nguyen, "Trump Grill Could Be the Worst Restaurant in America."
Nguyen’s article has received 1 million unique views since Trump’s tweet, according to Condé Nast. More than 330,000 unique visitors have read other Trump stories on the Hive, and nearly 10,000 new people have followed the magazine brand on Twitter.
While yesterday’s events led to a surge in audience engagement for the magazine, the last year has been favorable to Vanity Fair in an economy and industry where many of its competitors are struggling.
Vanity Fair has seen a 2 percent increase in revenues YoY, and is set to be profitable in 2016, according to Condé Nast. Digital revenues are up 74 percent YoY, and make up 18 percent of the brand’s overall revenue. This is up from 11 percent of the overall revenues in 2015.
Circulation is up 2.8 percent at the magazine, according to the AAM statements for June 2015/2016. The mid-year audit posted the magazine's circulation at 1,232,588, compared to 1,197,922 in 2015.
In addition, VF.com had 14.3 million unique views in October, according to ComScore — a 26.5 percent increase YoY.
Trump's early-morning tweet follows a recent tradition of the president-elect to post defamatory remarks on Twitter in response to individuals or media outlets that have spoken out against him. However, Trump also has a long and contentious history with Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, who is mentioned in the original tweet. Carter popularized the term "short-fingered vulgarian" when writing about Trump in Spy Magazine, long before Trump's ascension to the presidency.
Vanity Fair has since incorporated Trump's tweet into its digital marketing campaigns, including a banner ad on the front page of VF.com that reads, "The magazine Trump doesn't want you to read. Subscribe now!"
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that subscriptions increased 100 fold compared to the average daily subscriptions, not overall.