Major changes are afoot at Condé Nast as the publisher continues to evolve its operations to meet changing demands from consumers and advertisers alike.
Responding to a Sunday New York Post report that the company was “poised to take a scalpel to its corporate side” after losing $100 million this year, Condé Nast chief communications officer Cameron Blanchard tells Folio:, “We are going to … look at the corporate functions to make sure that these areas are best set up to support the new business and editorial structures we put in place over this past year.”
Those new structures, which took shape through multiple reorganizations in late 2016 and early 2017, were primarily aimed at driving efficiency by increasing collaboration across departments.
Where publishers were once responsible for individual brands, chief business officers now oversee multiple titles. A unified sales and marketing team, under the banner “Condé Nast One,” reports to chief revenue and marketing officer Pamela Drucker Mann. Fashion and beauty editors collaborate on content for brands across the company’s portfolio, and formerly disparate creative, copy, and research teams were merged to operate in a more cross-brand manner a little over a year ago.
As with most media-company restructurings, those shifts were followed by multiple rounds of layoffs, and Blanchard acknowledges, “We will resource more heavily in the growth areas, which may result in some duplications in others,” but insists the changes are not a cost-cutting exercise, but a restructuring to support the aforementioned changes elsewhere within the company.
A privately held company, Condé Nast does not publicly disclose its finances, but its moves over the past year indicate that its evolution is at least in large part aimed at cutting costs tied to print in order to further embrace new revenue from digital media, events, and its recently expanded creative services unit, 23 Stories, which acquired experiential agency Pop2Life in March and produced a two-day Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Last month, the company announced it was shuttering the print edition of Teen Vogue in order to invest in the brand’s growing digital presence, while also making reductions in the frequencies of several other titles. Meanwhile, it launched six new digital brands and recently unveiled an expanded 23 Stories’ Creative Group under creative director Dirk Standen, which the company says now caters to “more than a dozen big external clients” like 20th Century Fox and Lincoln.
Per comScore data, the company hit a record 113 million web visitors across its portfolio in October, and in November topped one billion total video views across its own brands’ platforms, YouTube, and Facebook.
“We are already seeing results within the sales division of a more unified approach to the market, and there is clear momentum heading into Q1 2018, pacing well ahead of last year at this time,” Blanchard adds.
In a holiday note to staffers this week, CEO Bob Sauerberg pointed to the restructuring of Allure and Teen Vogue, the hiring of Radhika Jones as Graydon Carter’s successor at Vanity Fair, the launches of digital brands like them, and The New Yorker’s Pulitzer Prize, among several other things, as highlights of the year.
“We make the best content in the world, and that is something that will never change,” Sauerberg wrote. “No matter what new platform, trend or app disrupts our industry next, it will be our content that matters the most.”