Condé Nast may be in the midst of reinventing itself from a print-focused publisher into a digitally centric one, but in introducing a new slate of programming and its Next Gen campaign to advertisers in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, the company did what it has always done best: boast.
The presentation, which took place at Cipriani 25 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, kicked off with chief business officer and president of revenue Jim Norton. He opened with remarks addressing the problem of fake news and fraudulent advertising.
“Condé Nast has always been the place where quality content, brand safety and engaged audiences are unquestioned, which is why we are committed to cleaning up the digital and video supply chain by supporting TAG certification, and asking all of our partners to do the same,” he said. “We believe that the moments when consumers stop searching and start finding are the most powerful, and we’re inviting our advertising partners to be here with us when those moments happen.”
Without going deeper into that, Norton moved on to Condé’s 22 brands.
“It’s a new generation of storytellers from next generation brands,” he said, pointing to new verticals such as Vanity Fair’s “The Hive” and Bon Appétit’s “Healthyish.” He also name-checked the reinvention of Teen Vogue, and more established titles, such as Vogue and The New Yorker.
Dawn Ostroff, president of Condé Nast Entertainment, touted the company’s film and TV projects, which include “Granite Mountain,” a film that is based on a GQ story that Sony is producing. She also cited “The Old Man and the Gun,” a Fox Searchlight project that is in production, which is based on a New Yorker story. On the TV front, there are about five series on the air or in development, she said.
The company said its lineup for 2017 includes 65 series renewals with more than 40 new series, which — not surprisingly — will target Millennials and Gen Z demographics.
New series include Teen Vogue’s “Pop Feminist,” featuring entertainment editor Sandra Song, who talks about pop culture happenings through a feminist lens; Bon Appétit’s “Back to Back,” a show featuring a celebrity chef challenging a home cook; GQ’s “Actually,” a series in which a celebrity “goes undercover” on the Internet to respond to comments on social media; Glamour’s “Two Minutes,” a service video that includes a “breakdown” of the “signs and symptoms of our biological processes and the science behind them,” and Wired’s “Tech Support,” a show in which celebrities use Twitter to answer questions.
The Scene, a somewhat ill-conceived platform by CNE, is also getting a series called “Broken,” which focuses on couples confronting difficult subjects
Ostroff said The Scene, which “was reimagined five months ago,” will focus on female-centric topics such as relationships, which is the focus of most of Glamour’s videos.
The company is also rolling out new documentaries, including Morgan Spurlock’s “Generation Us” and Rod Blackhurst’s “Through Fire,” as well as new advertising products, including ShopIt. Working with Clicktivated, Condé will help users buy directly from video.
It was left to Lisa Valentino, chief revenue officer of industry and agency, to self-proclaim the power of the company’s programming, equating Condé’s video views to TV Nielsen ratings — a controversial and somewhat hard-to-swallow statement.
“Here’s the difference this year, you guys: Our video series are delivering TV-like scale,” she bragged, comparing popular video series such as Vogue’s “73 Questions” to primetime TV shows.
Valentino went on to tout Condé Nast Spire, the firm’s data group, which helps advertisers target audiences, as well as 23 Stories, the in-house sponsored content unit. She offered marketers the ability to work with 23 Stories and The Scene, which she said pulled in 102 million video views in April.
Ostroff closed out the presentation by revealing that the company would expand its relationship with Jaunt, providing mentorship and potentially a broader distribution for students of Jaunt Cinematic Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Studies.
And for those in the room who didn’t get the message the first time, the executive drilled home Valentino’s TV analogy while adding a VR angle. “In just four years, CNE has achieved the scale of television with the relevance of digital, so investing in content on emerging platforms like VR, while supporting young, diverse creators is in our DNA,” Ostroff said.