Inside Vogue’s multiyear global digital investment

Condé Nast International is centralizing Vogue’s digital editorial efforts across 21 overseas markets to bring efficiency to the iconic fashion title.

At the center of the effort is an editorial hub based in London. Once it’s fully functional in 2017, the team will create content that can be used across Vogue’s overseas digital editions, letting each edition focus on producing local content and hopefully reducing duplication. The global teams will also share content and ideas through tools like Slack.

The team will start by sharing images and videos of the 430 runway shows Vogue covers each year.

“Vogue journalism is very visual, which gives us a tactical advantage because it can be published around the world,” said Wolfgang Blau, chief digital officer for Condé Nast International. “Text needs to go through translation, and even then, it needs life breathed into it.”

Centralizing the editorial operation is also meant to give Vogue more bargaining power when working with designers or seeking exclusives. Saying 12 Vogue editions will cover a show has some sway, after all.

Eleven of Vogue’s 21 editions outside the U.S. are wholly owned; the rest are licensed. Each has a digital editorial team of between six to 20 employees. The changes will take effect in the 11 owned markets before rolling out to other Condé titles.

Centralizing newsrooms often goes along with cost cutting, which raises concerns about layoffs. In Vogue’s case, it’s not cutting staff but rather investing, Blau said, without specifying the amount.

“It’s an enormous opportunity given the strength of its brand reputation,” he said. “Now is the time to invest more into Vogue. That’s the beauty of the internet; there’s always a latecomer advantage.”

The hub is hiring 14 network editors who are embedded in local markets and whose role it is to feed content back to the hub, creating content that’s relevant to all the Vogue editions.

Condé Nast International has made at least 10 more hires, with the possibility of hiring 40 more by year’s end, in areas including social strategy, audience development, editorial, data, product and engineering. All Vogue editions are on a different content-management system, or CMS. Over the coming years, they will all migrate to one CMS, but Blau stressed that each edition will have its own look. Most of the ads in the editions are local, but Vogue plans to run more global campaigns over time as demand grows.

While Vogue is the first Condé Nast title to operate this way, the staff at the hub will eventually work on other titles at the company too.

“Fashion has a global layer,” Blau said. “Fashion is synonymous with globalization. Fashion wonderfully also has a hyper-local expression around things like street style. With so many Vogues, we’re creating the world’s largest network.”

Images: Courtesy of Vogue.

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