When it comes to video, Condé Nast is in a moment of transition. The publishing giant has built its video brands around dozens of unscripted programs, many with close ties to the company’s stable of magazines.
That won’t change, but the company is also setting itself up to take on two areas that are, for now, still very much the domain of traditional linear TV and streaming giants like Netflix: Live coverage, and ultra-premium long-form content.
In fact, one of the reasons the company hired Agnes Chu as president of Condé Nast Entertainment last year was to “focus on longform,” Condé Nast global chief revenue officer Pamela Drucker Mann tells The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. Chu, a veteran of The Walt Disney Co., who helped launch Disney+, is now working on building out the company’s premium content development slate, with “an eye toward TV and film,” Drucker Mann says.
“This year we will be talking about how from a programming perspective, we will be leveling up our game to the likes of HBO, what you would expect on that level in scripted,” she adds.
For her part, Chu says that “Condé Nast brands have unparalleled influence on audiences around the world, and we’re continuing to cultivate that influence through the strength of our entertainment.”
“At Vanity Fair we’re exploring power and personality through film and television projects like our Hillsong documentary with FX, and we’ve launched a first of it’s kind fashion news show with Good Morning Vogue.,” Chu adds. “Our 2022 slate is rooted in our deep understanding of what audiences expect from us: incredible storytelling.”
In the meantime, however, the company is plotting out how it can carve out a piece of the lucrative live event space.
In the case of the Met Gala, the company is planning extensive live coverage through its Vogue verticals. “We are taking that back, this is ours to own,” Drucker Mann says, noting that for years E! Has had live coverage of the fashion-forward arrivals to the event.
For the Super Bowl, GQ is planning a second screen takeover with off-the-field coverage and live interviews. “We are building out a whole new slate of live programing around the game,” Drucker Mann says. “From a programing perspective really leaning into what GQ does best.”
And for the 2022 Academy Awards, Vanity Fair will have live red-carpet coverage and exclusive access to its namesake after-party, as well a series that will chronicle Oscar nominees and winners as they leave the Dolby Theater and get ready for the party.
“A reason we slightly held back in the past is that we saw this as a super-premium HBO-esque type of channel,” Drucker Mann says. “The programming we are planning around Vanity Fair is going to be massive.”
Still, the company has no plans to stop its unscripted fare, with plans to bring back 75 series, and more than 50 pilots in development for its video channels. Among the projects are a Vogue-branded series featuring Kendall Jenner, and a Vanity Fair podcast called Dynasty, which will chronicle famous families, starting with the House of Windsor.
Condé also unveiled a renewed effort at shoppable content, which will integrate buying opportunities directly into the company’s content.
“We see a huge whitespace opportunity to think about what a shoppable content marketplace would look like,” Drucker Mann says. We see a brand like Vogue as a place where we could play pretty heavily.”