MILAN — It’s a new, digital era at Condé Nast Italia.
The publishing house’s digital properties registered 35 million users in August, 13 million of whom were fans and followers. In particular, Vanity Fair’s web site, which debuted a new layout and editorial channels in April, broke the record number of 11 million unique users this week.
Regarding digital advertising sales, Usai said Condé Nast Italia will register growth of 18 percent by the end of the year, compared to 2016. The company’s goal is to reach 30 million euros in three years, which means having digital advertising sales accounting for 37 percent of total turnover by the end of 2020.
To further boost digital performances and reach the goal of “being the reference player in quality communication in Italy,” the group introduced new social-oriented initiatives.
Condé Nast Italia, in partnership with the SDA Bocconi university in Milan, will launch the first national social academy aimed at training a new generation of professional influencers. The certificated postgraduate degree program will offer classes on communication, social marketing, digital media and invite students to directly apply the techniques addressed in the courses.
“We’re investing in education in order to have a well-trained and, most importantly, ethical category [of influencers,],” Usai said, mentioning most influencers’ fake number of followers as an example of unethical behavior. “We want for the category to become qualitatively relevant and to oversee this new area,” he continued, adding that the graduates will collaborate with the publishing house for two years after the degree.
The program will kick off Nov. 15, with pre-registration available on the dedicated web site socialacademy.condenast.it
Also social-oriented, Condé Nast Italia will launch Lisa, an acronym standing for “Love Inspire Share Advise,” a new platform targeting Millennials. The digital content hub will not be developed starting from a web site but from namesake social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Top stories developed on these channels will be collected on the lisa.it web site.
Usai explained how the platform will be free of advertising content in order to favor an advising, participatory approach. The topics will be strongly visual, thanks to the use of social cards, animated gifs, video and Instagram stories, developed by a dedicated team operating in the editorial, digital, social and marketing departments.
In addition, last month Condé Nast Italia unveiled Vogue Italia’s new content creator unit, named Shareable. The tool targets brands seeking quality content to post on Instagram. So far 15 labels have asked for such image production service, including Casadei, Furla and Luxottica. According to Usai, Shareable will register a turnover of 500,000 euros by the end of the year.
Also new in the group’s content supplying activity, on Tuesday the publishing house inked a partnership with Thailand-based Central Retail Corp. Condé Nast Italia will oversee all the communication, edited in eight languages, and internal advertising of the company’s department stores, which include La Rinascente in Italy, KaDeWe in Germany and Illum in Denmark, among others.
The increase in digital investment will result in the discontinuation of Vogue Italia’s sister print publications. The ceo confirmed that the publishing house is closing L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Bambini, Vogue Sposa and Vogue Accessories, as reported in July.
Usai explained how the shift in consumers’ habits spurred the decision. The goal is to continue to offer top-quality publications and be selective to avoid diluting the attention of users.
The magazines’ closures will result in 35 cuts in staff members, who will be offered a record severance package of 40 months’ pay.
In general, Condé Nast Italia, which also publishes GQ, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, Architectural Digest and La Cucina Italiana, saw its business grow last year. The company, which closed 2016 with revenues of 127.3 million euros, registered an increase in profits to 3 million euros compared to the 2.3 million euros in 2015.
Usai underscored how the publishing house has managed to keep the quality of its magazines, even after an “emotional shock” like the death of Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani.
In particular, Vogue Italia’s July issue, the first under the direction of Emanuele Farneti, registered an increase of 26.8 percent in newsstand sales, while in August they were up 16 percent. Sales figures for September were not available yet, but Usai said they will be aligned with the positive trend and double-digit growth of the previous months.
Special events, such as Vogue Fashion’s Night Out scheduled here for Sept. 14, also drive sales. “Vogue Italia is not an Italian magazine but a worldwide excellence,” concluded Usai, pointing to the choice of Riccardo Tisci as creative director being cause for a celebratory event to be held on Sept. 22.