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CONDE NAST’S AWARDS RETURN: After a one-year hiatus, Condé Nast executives got to go back to the beach for the annual publishers’ meeting this year, held over three days beginning Monday at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. And some will come back to New York today with more than just a tan — at Tuesday night’s awards dinner, Condé Nast Publications’ chief executive officer, Charles Townsend, doled out prizes to the company’s top achievers last year on the business side. And in perhaps an indication, if not a wholehearted endorsement, of where the publishing world’s future lies, Townsend looked beyond the usual suspects for Publisher of the Year, giving the honor to Drew Schutte, chief revenue officer of Condé Nast Digital, who oversees such digital properties as newyorker.com, luckymag.com and glamour.com, which saw significant revenue growth over 2008. The Corporate Executive of the Year prize went to Robert Sauerberg, president of Condé Nast Consumer Marketing. Sauerberg helped spearhead the formation of Next Issue Media, the recently announced venture between Condé Nast, Time Inc., Meredith Corp., Hearst Magazines and News Corp. to create a digital magazine platform and storefront.
While Schutte and Sauerberg got the top individual prizes, different magazines were singled out for their performance last year with team awards. Glamour (under Bill Wackermann) received the platinum award; Lucky (under Gina Sanders, who last week was appointed president and ceo of Fairchild Fashion Group, which includes WWD) and Self (under Kim Kelleher) tied for gold; Vogue (under Tom Florio), silver, and wired.com (under Josh Stinchcomb), bronze. In addition, Townsend revealed three promotions. Lou Cona, formerly senior vice president of Condé Nast Media Group, was named executive vice president of that division. And Teen Vogue publisher Laura McEwen and Wired publisher Howard Mittman were each given the additional title of vice president. — Nick Axelrod
SUNDANCE KIDS: While the Sundance Film Festival has been shining a light on scruffy indie film boys this season, the Sundance Channel has been busy focusing on fashion, specifically in the form of original fashion content. Four additions to Sundance’s “Full Frontal Fashion” lineup — two Web series, “Catwalk Countdown” and “Dirty Denim,” and two on-air programs, “The Red Carpet Issue” and “Savile Row” — are set to debut Feb. 8. Such a concentrated hit of fashion-focused programming comes six months after Sundance launched the program’s Web site as well as “The Day Before,” French documentarian Loïc Prigent’s series that chronicled four design houses in the final hours before their runway shows. “We decided last year that there was an opportunity in the broader fashion media space to invest a little more and give our audience a little more,” said Sarah Barnett, Sundance Channel’s executive vice president and general manager, noting the channel’s past fashion programming has included designer documentaries such as “Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton” and “Signé Chanel,” both helmed by Prigent, as well as “Unzipped” by Douglas Keeve.
Both directors are back with new documentaries on Sundance’s slate. “The Red Carpet Issue” is Prigent’s look at the business behind the red carpet, or “how celebrity and the red carpet are in bed with each other in a way that’s unknown to the wider audience,” as Barnett explained the one-off show that was shot over the course of 2009. Meanwhile, Keeve’s “Dirty Denim” is a five-part Web series that investigates the high-end denim industry through the story of Chip & Pepper, and the three-part docu series “Savile Row” examines the tradition of English tailoring and its place in the modern market.
Barnett, who started at Sundance in 2005 as the head of marketing before being named general manager last year, attributed the network’s fashion focus to “the fact that we think there’s something audiences aren’t getting, which is a smart, sophisticated look at the journey from inception to market to consumer. We’re not about telling people what to wear. We’re not a shopping site.” As for the expansion into a multiplatform format, Barnett said it was born from the positive reaction to Sundance’s beefed-up daily Web content, provided by contributors such as Lynn Yaeger and Patrick McMullan, as well as “The Day Before,” a hit with press and viewers. Which explains “Catwalk Countdown,” a Web series that followed 10 emerging New York-based designers, including Chris Benz, Lyn Devon and Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava, as they prepped their collections for fashion week. — Jessica Iredale