The Business of Magazines

Discussion in 'Magazines' started by Cicciolina, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Flamingjune

    Flamingjune Active Member

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    Op-Ed | Vogue’s New Editorial Structure Is a Blast from the Past
    Nina-Sophia Miralles
    7-8 minutes
    Vogue publisher Condé Nast is making drastic changes to its editorial structure as it streamlines its operations and consolidates power in the hands of its New York-based leadership after merging its US and international arms.

    Vogue editors-in-chief from France to India, who once ran local editions with autonomy, are being deputised or exited in a reorganisation that gives Anna Wintour ultimate control over content at all Condé Nast-owned Vogues in the position of global editorial director.

    In many ways, this strategy is a blast from the past. It is a common misconception to think of Wintour as the longest serving Vogue editor, but long before her there was Edna Woolman Chase, who spent 57 years at American Vogue, from 1895 to 1952. And though she may belong to another time, Vogue’s current strategy somewhat mirrors her methods.

    By the time Woolman Chase retired, she was on the executive board of Condé Nast, director of both its American and British companies, and had, at one point, been editor-in-chief of American, British, French and German Vogue all at the same time.

    In Woolman Chase’s day, there were no editors-in-chief at Vogue’s local editions. The highest-ranking editor at VogueParis, for instance, was known as editor, but not editor-in-chief, a title reserved for the head of American Vogue, who had control over international editors, which were under constant pressure to conform their Vogues to American Vogue.

    The tone was decided in New York, and then exported. Woolman Chase’s influence was felt most keenly in the UK, where until the Second World War most of British Vogue’s content was dictated from the US and not permitted to be altered except to account for English spellings.

    Today, the job titles are different, but what used to be Woolman Chase’s all encompassing ‘editor-in-chief’ has, in many ways, returned as Wintour’s ‘global editorial director.’

    And the comparison continues further down the masthead. When Edward Enninful of British Vogue was promoted to European editorial director, overseeing all titles on the continent, and a similar restructuring began to unfold in Asia, where Vogue editorial teams (not including China) were reportedly placed under Vogue Taiwan editor Leslie Sun, the strategy very much mimicked the Woolman Chase era, where power was consolidated under a few key managers.

    Though Vogue’s restructuring may seem new, it replicates methods from the 20th century.

    Though Vogue’s restructuring may seem new and particular to the digital age, in many ways, it replicates Condé Nast methods from the 20th century. These methods may have worked well at the time. In fact, there is little doubt that they did. But they seem outdated in 2021.

    Back then, Woolman Chase held the entire publication in her grip, while staff had the habit of hopping frequently between international editions, meaning they were seldom associated with a particular Vogue and rather more broadly associated with the wider brand. Cultural specificities were at best ignored, at worst derided. This allowed Woolman Chase to keep a stronghold on content across the world, helping to define and maintain correct ‘Vogue voice’ and style. What’s more, duplicating content across territories was cost effective.

    The strategy worked well, helping to bolster Vogue’s reputation and, in part, driving in the financial boom years of the 1920s and 1950s (the 1930s and 1940s were hampered by the Great Depression and the Second World War). Starting in the mid-1920s, Vogue was consistently ranked top in monthly advertising intake for women’s magazines. Earnings skyrocketed, rising from $241,410 in 1923, to $1,425,076 in 1928.

    Today, it’s safe to say profit is at the very top of Condé Nast’s concerns after declining print advertising revenues have led to gut-wrenching losses. But if its strategy for streamlining Vogue, narrowing the circle of command to a small cohort under American leadership, harkens back to the time of Woolman Chase, today’s market landscape is totally different.

    In today’s post-colonial, internet age, homogenous output will bore audiences quickly.

    Audiences are far more globalised and have an unbelievably wide choice of content to consume. In Woolman Chase’s day, readers were unlikely to come across a foreign Vogue and would never even know if the features were simply repurposed. They were perhaps also more open to their magazines taking a US-led line on what was fashionable. But in today’s post-colonial, internet age, where China, not the US, is the world’s biggest fashion market, homogenous output dictated from New York will bore audiences quickly.

    Condé Nast says it is committed to being “globally local” but Wintour’s position runs the risk of eliminating local market originality at a time when readers may be thirsting for this more than ever. The same goes for Enninful’s appointment as editorial director over a Europe bristling with many Vogues and beneath them the cultures and aesthetic traditions that make each country distinct.

    Then, there’s the shifting reality of women in the workplace to consider.

    In Woolman Chase’s day, there were relatively few employment opportunities for female editors, which made them somewhat pliable. But if Wintour expects submission from a well-connected, multi-hyphenate talent like Margaret Zhang, the Chinese Australian super-blogger recently named editor-in-chief of Vogue China, she may be in for a surprise.

    Influencers are typically accustomed to operating on their own terms. And if Vogue plans to continue hiring from a pool of young, self-sustaining creatives who have robust personal followings, the magazine may need to rethink its command-and-control approach or the list of former editors, already growing by the minute, may grow even longer still.

    Nina-Sophia Miralles is the author of Glossy: The Inside Story of Vogue.

    The views expressed in Op-Ed pieces are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Business of Fashion.
     
  2. caioherrero

    caioherrero Well-Known Member

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    It’s funny cuz it’s true.
     
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  3. DK92

    DK92 Well-Known Member

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    The question is: How many EIC could be saved with Anna Wintour's salary? Keeping her in the position she is currently in is nothing more than an EGO issue.
     
  4. Lola701

    Lola701 Well-Known Member

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    What I’m going to say might sound harsh but tbh, the fact that Alt is mentioned is telling on how irrelevant the voice of VP has been this past decade.

    She is a great stylist, a real professional and a good editor (she has a vision and is capable) but despite giving us some firecrackers for 10 years, she didn’t managed to maintain the level of attraction of VP.

    And let’s be honest, she had the best Vogue to work with. French people don’t want or expect social subjects by glossy magazines. In a way, VP is the only Vogue that is allowed to be totally frivolous and about creativity. It’s often described by serious journalists as a very luxurious catalogue...

    They came too late on the digital, made themselves very inaccessible and somehow, their vision of « La Parisienne » became irrelevant.

    Someone earlier said that she wasn’t polarizing but in a way it’s true. The worst thing in fashion is to be okay. She made everything possible to distance herself from the Carine era but in a way, the magazine stopped being part of THE conversation.

    I can literally guess just by looking at the cover the an issue will be filled with jeans.

    Tbh, we are the only ones keeping the flame of VP. We might be critical of Edward and Anna but they are totally relevant. For better or for worse, their magazines reflects something of today.

    VP should be the blueprint for creativity today and it’s not.

    As @GivenchyAddict said, she will be fine (Alt). We saw how wonderful her touch can be for some brands but it’s a pity that her name is attached to the demise of VP...When Carine’s days will always be synonymous with Glory!
     
  5. velvetandsilk

    velvetandsilk Active Member

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    Anna is a very shrewd person. She knows which people are important and she can come off as someone which great ideas.
    They want easy money from onilne Vogue webpage. The majority of people which looking on online site are not exigent. You can produce pseudo-political article or "article" which is lazy ad because you use retail links(profit from affiliate commission)/ instagram photos (hiden ad or classic indolence) - written by intern. They had to more ambitious when produced ad in magazine. You can't use PR photos or lookbook as editoral bacause that is show your incompetence. The print is very brutal medium.
    In youtube footage they can interpose a few product placement (hidden ad) and of course they earn good money from normal ad from youtube if their movie watch min. 300 000 people.
     
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  6. caioherrero

    caioherrero Well-Known Member

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    The videos of Emmanuelle at the office today made me sad. I’ll miss her
     
  7. helmutnotdead

    helmutnotdead Well-Known Member

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    can you share them please? I couldn't find anything.
     
  8. MON

    MON Well-Known Member

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    Are they quitting because they don't like to be controlled or are they being fired?

    Who in their right might thinks that a global editor can run a local magazine abroad? A magazine is more than just the editorial content. You need written content that your readers can relate to! There's a lot of aspects to a magazine that needs the imprimatur and judgment of a local editor. Trust me, readers will find local Vogues irrelevant. What on earth do global editors know about Thai/Indian+++++++ culture? The answer to this is that there will be a deputy editor.... which begs the question.. why remove an EIC?

    This truly is the demise of Vogue and Conde Nast.

    My heart breaks for Emmanuelle. I really loved her Vogue Paris.

    We all feared the start of the slow demise of print, but none of us expected that it will be expedited by a global pandemic. As long as the pandemic cripples economies worldwide, I fear that print as we know it may no longer survive.

    I reckon that the next move for Conde Nast is to consolidate these editions as Vogue Europe and Vogue Asia. Then, the inevitable shift to digital.
     
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  9. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

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    LOOOL Hilarious and tragic at the same time LOOOOL … Just so frightening how anyone with an opinion that isn’t co-opted and carefully rehearsed cheerleading along corporate lines now needs a disclaimer to protect her bosses. Pathetic and shameful.

    Emmanuelle was the last of the Vogue editors to still showcase and present the dream.

    Vogue Paris being forced into the unpleasant reality of scrapping the bottom of the very bottom of the barrel to appeal to the bland and dense commoners like those cheap flyers US/UK/Italy is understandable why Emmanuelle is leaving/let go. She is so much better than those people.

    This is the fashion equivalent of when those idiot Red Guard communists eliminated/executed/murdered the last standing signs of art, culture and individuality all in the name of their cultural revolution (LOL). The commoners will inevitably cheer for the further dumbing down of high fashion. Fcuk them. Fashion is dead. Vogue is dead.
     
  10. Lola701

    Lola701 Well-Known Member

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    I think you have a very pessimistic POV considering that the world already works around the American calendar.
    The US might not be soon the biggest economy of the world but it’s still and it will be for a longtime the biggest cultural « influencer » of the world. When Rosalia makes the cover of US Vogue, the world talks about it. If Angele makes the cover of VP, it will maybe news worthy in Belgium, Switzerland and France. The same for Vogue UK that has took the place of both VP and VI in terms of buzz. Billie Elish decided to mark her aesthetic switch in Vogue UK. There were subjects about it on the two biggest talk shows in France.

    I think a lot of local Vogue stopped making people dream. And the level of engagement lowered.

    The recent editorial line of Vogue UK and US kinda makes me scared for that world wide restructuration but tbh, Vogue at it core, unlike ELLE, is a magazine that can be strong with lesser local editions.

    Look at Vogue Japan. Is it really representative of Japan?
     
  11. vogue28

    vogue28 Mod Squad Team Leader

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    I believe @caioherrero may be talking about the video from Alt’s birthday celebrations yesterday in the Vogue Paris offices, which Aleksandra Woroniecka’s posted on her Instagram story.
     
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  12. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    The idea of making easy money from producing bland online content under the Vogue banner probably seems really appealing in the boardroom right now - but any power the Vogue brand has, it stems entirely from the important position the print magazine once held and the respect that people accorded it. But when time passes and there's wave after wave of young people who don’t have any memory of the importance of print magazines, those people are not automatically going to see Vogue as the “voice of authority” on anything – Vogue is just going to be yet another heritage logo on the front of a T-shirt, or just another portal where you can buy your designer goods online (and there are plenty of those already). And as style.com shows, Conde Nast is hardly canny about their online operations.
     
  13. annikad

    annikad Active Member

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    ^ Just what I thought when I heard the CEO of Conde Nast Germany (who "resigned" this week as well by the way) go on and on about how they created this successful and amazing e-commerce for the german market, selling hoodies and shirts with the Vogue logo slapped on it. That's literally it, the logo on different colored versions of such basic stuff that it's painful to look at. It annoys me that they would rather invest in this sell off than the actual (print) product that established their reputation in the first place.
     
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  14. LastNight

    LastNight Well-Known Member

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    What a sad state of affairs.

    To me it seems entirely the wrong way to go about things; print isn't dead, but the system of churning out 12 issues a year is. It's so antiquated and I don't really know why they insist on sticking with it... beyond their egos getting in their way. If Conde Nast was really bold they could reinvent their print to focus on less issues but higher quality, allowing a smaller team more creative freedom, more time to produce issues and then create buzz around the printed product. If they culled some of the smaller editions, focussed on the main titles and reduced them to 4 issues a year then they could do something truly magical with them. Personally I would much rather take less issues a year and have them be substantial, well thought-out and of high quality in terms of papers and finishing. THAT is worth spending money on and there's also a real audience for that type of magazine. I'm certainly not buying a pamphlet-thin issue of US Vogue that looks like an Instagram feed printed on terrible paper for £10 a month, but I would spend £15 on a quarterly issue that was actually targeted to a print audience and produced to a high standard.

    Vogue could expand their digital side, churning out the usual fluff content along with some more in-depth interview pieces and digital exclusive shoots, and then produce seasonal print issues that actually spoke to a print reader. Most people consume Vogue content on Instagram anyway, and there's no need for pages of styling tips and tricks in a print magazine anymore, but Vogue needs a printed product; it's the anchor that legitimises all other aspects of the brand. If they were smart and marketed a less-frequent print model correctly, then the printed magazine would be the couture to the digital side's ready-to-wear. If they pushed the issues as a luxurious object, a collector's item, a coffee table book publication, then people would be clamouring to buy it for the exclusivity. By doing this, Vogue could maintain a young audience with their digital content and push their activism/buzzy Gen Z names there, whilst also catering to a core fashion-loving audience with the print edition.

    They would probably see a reduction in frequency as some kind of failure, but if they did it right and marketed it properly I think it would actually be a wonderful move. Imagine the money they'd save if they produced 7 or 8 well executed, long-form editorials 4 times a year instead of what they're doing now? You could maintain smaller core teams working on each edition instead of firing all the editors and having everything overseen by the same person. Vogue should be leading the way in print but instead they're flailing behind, desperately clinging on to a long passed era of magazines, all for the sake of having something new on the stands every month.
     
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  15. balmain1914

    balmain1914 Well-Known Member

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    I suddenly understand why RVR had 5 Vogue Paris OG covers within 2 years, coz when you know you are gonna leave soon...

    PS: RVR herself is a great model with strong expression on these photos...I mean it.
     
  16. Flamingjune

    Flamingjune Active Member

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    The problem is, if they reduce frequency. They would be losing money. The more issues they churn out per year, the more advertising and money they get. Once advertisers start to see a reduction in frequency, they'll stop advertising e.g, if they would normally get 12 Prada ads in a year, it will become 4 Prada ads in a year.
     
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  17. LastNight

    LastNight Well-Known Member

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    I can understand that but I don't know if the ad reduction would be proportional in that way? Switching to a luxury quarterly would shift the audience; it would probably be smaller but more focussed and much more likely to have the money advertisers want. Let's use the Prada example and say they currently take out 1 ad in each of the 12 issues of Vogue for the year. Then Vogue switches to 4 issues; would Prada take out the same single ad per issue or would they now take out two? Knowing that there are fewer issues in which to make an impact on Vogue's valuable readership, I'd be inclined to think they'd take two (similar to how brands typically take out more pages in the bigger March/September issues). In that case, yes you're still down from 12 Prada ads to 8, but the magazine production costs are lower, staffing costs are lower, marketing costs are lower and you can charge more at the newsstand for the magazine itself.

    The quarterly and twice-yearly magazines are surviving and thriving, they don't seem to suffer from a lack of advertising, still produce excellent content and have multiple ads from the same brand in single issues - Vogue should be able to do the same. There's real power in a niche audience that shouldn't be overlooked, it's attractive to advertisers.

    The thing is, Conde Nast is running an increasingly irrelevant business model when it comes to print and they're doing everything they can to cling on to it, instead of being leaders in their sector and doing something radical. At some point they won't have a choice, the decision will be made for them by the readers: they'll slip from 12 issues, to 10 issues, to 6 issues and fade into obscurity. All of a sudden 8 (or 4) Prada ads a year doesn't sound so bad. Imagine if Blockbuster had the foresight to do mail-out DVDs and then switch to online streaming like Netflix did? It feels like a similar turning point here.

    Conde are digging their heels into the ground to hold onto glory days that don't exist anymore, instead of adapting to what the modern print audience wants. Like I said, print isn't dead it's just changed: there's absolutely a market there to work with - one with buying power and a love of fashion, one that advertisers still cherish. They'd absolutely have to expand on the digital side to make up the revenue, but that's another story. In any case, they're spending a fortune to hire Annie Leibovitz to shoot cover stories for them, only for the whole thing to end up on Instagram, get a few likes and then vanish when the scrollers move on to the next thing, all while giving Anna and Edward more power (and money) but firing really talented, passionate and loyal employees. Their priorities are wrong and I personally think it's unsustainable.
     
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  18. Flamingjune

    Flamingjune Active Member

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    I couldn't agree more with you. I don't know if the suits at Conde are willing to take that kind of risk though, and they might end up regretting in the end.
     
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  19. LastNight

    LastNight Well-Known Member

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    I think you're right - it's probably too risky for them. Hopefully what they're doing now will work out in the long term, it seems so short-sighted though!
     
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  20. GivenchyAddict

    GivenchyAddict Well-Known Member

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    Monthly is a very specific and lucrative business as each month, magazines have a very focused point (that sometimes can be hard to perceive but still).

    You have the fashion (Fall/Winter, Pre-fall, Spring/Summer, Cruise, Haute couture) which allow magazines to reach brands and to sell them coverage.

    Then you have the jewellery, the special denim, the special beauty and 12 issues mean 12 opportunities to sell the cover and back cover which are the most lucrative. To sum up, monthly creates many opportunities to bring new clients and to keep some for the long term such as big brands who sell clothes, accessories, perfume, etc.

    Just check the campaigns inside issues from different months to see that.

    Doing a quarterly is a nice idea for us readers but not for them the businessmen. You can't possibly rely on quarterly advertisements when you have employees and offices to pay every month.
     

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