For years, it seems, content has moved from video to print. ESPN created a successful magazine to further reach its video audience; Food Network and HGTV has also been building a magazine brand to enhance its brand. The strategy seems to have paid off as the magazine has a built in audience to attract. But this strategy has been less attractive coming the other way. Sports Illustrated tried to build a cable brand called CNNSI, but it is now defunct.
So now comes word that Condé Nast will try to build video content as an extension of its magazine brands. "A Condé Nast insider told WWD that (Dawn) Ostroff is planning to hire a small handful of development people — aka D-girls — to plumb Condé’s titles for script ideas and to hit the town and pitch them." While these are shows and not an entire network, the challenge to grow the brand is just as real. I applaud the effort. I believe that good content can extend across multiple platforms. The three key issues to successful growth are quality content, strong distribution, and solid marketing support.
With a built in audience from the magazine, you would think it would be easy to market to your targeted audience. But as CNNSI proved, Sports Illustrated could not move viewers over to their new network. It still lacked enough distribution and awareness to impact ratings. And Condé Nast will need to determine in what new form this content will be delivered, as web video, TV shows, theatrical films, etc. Video now comes in many flavors. Still, it is an important next step and strategically building a Condé Nast seems to be a right move in the evolution and growth of their titles and brands.