Aug 16, 2022 - Economy

Condé Nast on pace to top 2021 revenues

Illustration of Condé Nast magazines with Ben Franklin on the cover

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Condé Nast is expecting this year to exceed the nearly $2 billion in total revenue it saw in 2021 thanks to continued growth in its advertising business, a source familiar with the figures told Axios.

Why it matters: Most digital publishers are forecasting advertising growth slowdowns in response to macroeconomic factors impacting the economy, like inflation and supply chain issues.

  • For firms like Condé Nast that attract luxury advertisers or local broadcasters that attract political ads, the slump hasn't been as bad.
  • But for publishers that cater to categories impacted by supply chain issues, like auto and consumer package goods, the headwinds have been material.

Details: For the first half of this year, Condé Nast — which is home to publications like Vanity Fair, Wired, Vogue, Architectural Digest and GQ — saw an 11% growth in advertising, a spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

  • That growth was fueled by a +13% growth in digital advertising year over year, as well as print advertising gains.
  • A majority of the company's advertising revenue is now digital, thanks to investments in product and technology.
  • Last year, the company posted a profit for the first time in years, per the Wall Street Journal. It's unclear if the company will post a profit again this year, as it looks to continue investing in its digital expansion.
Photo courtesy Vogue

The big picture: Condé Nast is owned by Advance Publications, which is managed by descendents of the Newhouse family.

  • Unlike some of its publicly traded publishing rivals, the magazine giant has been able to manage its digital pivot privately.
  • The company is currently in the process of streamlining its brands globally to reduce costs as it transitions to digital products, but its print products still hold a massive premium in terms of brand equity.
  • Vogue's latest cover, featuring Serena Williams and her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was the company's second-most trafficked story to ever, following Harry Style's December 2020 cover, a spokesperson said.

What to watch: As Condé Nast looks to fuel digital subscription growth, it's also begun to experiment with new types of consumer revenue models.

  • The company has quietly launched a new membership model for its flagship publication called Vogue Club.
  • A membership will cost $25 monthly, or $250 annually, and gives users access to exclusive events, merchandise, social events held by the Vogue team and more.
  • Members will also get exclusive early access to Vogue World, a fashion show and street fair event.
  • Sources say the company is eyeing similar membership models for other publications, like GQ, in 2023.
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