From the introduction of branded web series to investments in ecommerce to Anna Wintour’s expanded new role, Condé Nast is making more moves than it has in years (maybe ever?). And it shows no signs of stopping.
Dawn Ostroff, whom Condé brought on as president of its newly-launched Entertainment division in 2011, chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the publishing house’s plans to adapt editorial content for other platforms including telvision and film–not just glossy sponsored web series. She is said to be meeting regularly with Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter to develop content for the screen.
Condé hopes to make use of articles already published in titles including Vogue. THR suggests it’s hoping to prevent another situation like Argo–a film based on a Wired article that grossed millions but provided no financial benefit to Condé Nast (which publishes Wired). Currently, a film adapted from Wired content about John Macaffee is in early stages and if it’s made, Condé will retain a share of profits, as well as a fee. In total, Condé is said to be optioning 20 additional film projects and 10 TV projects.
“In the future, the platforms are all going to blur,” Ostroff says. “It’s not going to be television or digital. It’s going to all just be content. And they won’t know the difference between something that comes from Netflix or Amazon or NBC or CBS or History or Condé Nast. To consumers, it’s all just going to be content.”
The idea, Ostroff says, is applicable to any of Condé’s brands and content, the goal being to “maximize the reach of the brands.” And also, obviously, to supplement declining print revenue. Given Ostroff’s experience as president of the CW and, before that UPN, where she helped develop Gossip Girl and America’s Next Top Model, respectively, some fashiony content is bound to make it off the page.
Condé could run into some problems, though. Writers are having to sign new contracts that permit the publishing house to option their work. So far, 1,100 writers have signed, but it’s been met with contention from the Authors Guild and book agents in Hollywood because of the rights it potentially takes away from the writers.
THR also cites “publishing sources” who say other publishing houses are watching Condé to see if its efforts pay off. If they do, it could mean big changes for media across the board.