JOINING THE DIGITAL WORLD: Brides magazine, already an aspiring player in social media, has signed on a star of the medium, Michelle Phan, well-known for her how-to fashion and makeup videos, to beef up its video production, which has until now consisted mainly of runway and behind-the-scenes footage. The magazine, which recently reduced its frequency to six times a year, is dipping its feet further into video as the launch of Condé Nast Entertaiment’s digital channels is under way.
But much like when Condé launched magazines’ tablet editions, it is the major brands that are getting picked first by CNE — GQ and Glamour are already live with their digital channels, with Vogue and Wired to follow.
Michelle Myers, Brides’ publisher, said she’s had talks with CNE, just like all the other brands, but it’ll be a while until Brides formally enters Condé’s so-called digital-channel network.
“Until that happens I can’t put my whole digital plan on hold. We’ll move forward with the projects we’re looking to do,” she said.
Since an unsuccessful redesign last May and the decision in August to scale back frequency to every other month, the Web has become a vital part of Brides’ future. In August, it partnered with Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, to produce the live-stream of a “real wedding,” a recurring feature in the magazine.
Then, in November, it asked social media to choose the winners of a contest for a paid-for wedding. Via Twitter and Facebook, readers have voted on every decision the winning couple has made about its nuptials, with more voting still to go until the wedding is live-streamed in April.
Beefing up its video production is a major component of Brides’ push online. Publishers big and small — from Time Inc. and CNE to daily papers — are increasingly waking up to the potential of online video as a source of revenue as they can sell advertising against it, unlike, say, tweets.
Myers said she approached Phan, who’s got a tremendous following online with some 3 million uniques a month, to make one video for the “real wedding” feature — she designed the two beauty looks readers voted on. Now under their new agreement, Phan will produce two videos a month, cross-promoted on her own YouTube channel and Brides’ Web site, starting in May. Advertisers will be able to buy spots on the pre-roll before each video, or they can sponsor it outright, said Myers, who added she’s not just targeting the beauty category.
Brides was one of several Condé brands, pre-CNE, with a YouTube channel, but it’s sat mainly unused for two years as the magazine instead uploaded videos to its site. That’ll change in the coming year as the editorial staff makes more original content and looks for partnerships with other producers like Phan. Myers said she hopes the Zuckerberg relationship will continue beyond the latest promotion. And whenever CNE engages the magazine in a serious way, it will be ready.
“It’ll bring our video strategy to a whole new level,” Myers said.