I've been a long-time advocate that broadband video offers print publishers such as newspapers and magazines a whole new strategic growth opportunity. In a recent briefing with Richard Glosser, CondeNet's Executive Director of Emerging Media, he went a step further, telling me that for Conde "all roads lead to broadband video." For those not familiar with CondeNet, it is the digital business unit of Conde Nast, the upscale magazine publisher (Vogue, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, GQ, Details, Wired, etc.).
CondeNet has been pursuing video on its 5 web sites (Style.com, Men.Style.com, Epicurious.com, Concierge.com and Wired.com, which are associated with its magazine brands and collectively generate around 12 million unique visitors/mo) since late '06. Coincidentally, Conde's approach to video is very aligned with how I described magazines' video opportunities in a report I released in Q2 '07, "The Top 40 U.S. Magazines and Broadband Video: Learning to Thrive in a Multi-Platform World."
Conde recognizes that many of the same skills and assets vital to a magazine franchise are transferrable to video, and, when augmented with new video-specific capabilities and people, the combination significantly expands the brand's potential, especially with advertisers, in the digital era. Conde is now producing or licensing approximately 600 videos per year, with most in the 2-3 minute range. While insisting that the its video be high quality, it is very budget-focused, with target production of $1,000/minute.
Since CondeNet is a separate unit, some of its videos stand alone on the site, unaffiliated with print stories. But often the video is related to what's in print, and that brings up one of the main challenges for magazines to successfully pursue video: evolving the editorial process to incorporate a video angle. Conde has hired video producers who now work closely with magazine editors to identify appropriate opportunities. The question guiding these decisions: "What do our audiences expect from us?"
Meanwhile, Conde's early video syndication efforts also show why video is so strategic. Though only distributing to 5 partners as yet (YouTube, iTunes, Sony Bravia, Verizon VCast and Adobe Media Player) - Richard shared that two-thirds of its overall video views now come from these 5 partners, with the other third generated from Conde's own sites, underscoring the opportunities I've previously written about concerning the "syndicated video economy."
Better yet, Richard cited a number of examples where a certain clip breaks out on a partner site, demonstrating that Conde's partners help it reach new audiences it doesn't typically attract on its own. One example was videos it placed on YouTube about Culinary Institute of America students Epicurious was tracking for a series. Video of one student in particular underperformed on Epi, but was off the charts on YouTube. Conde's thinking is that YouTube's younger audiences related better to this student's particular trials and tribulations and embraced her in a way that Conde's traditional audiences had not.
This is just one of Conde's many insights gained from its early video experience. Conde is showing that magazines should look at video as a logical and inevitable extension of their franchises. It is increasingly expected by their audiences and advertisers.
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