Talking New Media

Condé Nast retreats: Teen Vogue reportedly to be shuttered, other titles reduce frequency

The publisher is retrenching from print several years after its parent company had moved to reduce the number of days its newspapers would be available through home delivery

The magazines of Condé Nast will reportedly see major changes in the new year, with many titles cutting down on issues printed, Teen Vogue shuttered completely, and layoffs and budget cuts projected. The moves come a couple of years after the publisher’s parent company, Advance Publications, made major cutbacks and a reorganization at its newspaper properties.

Teen Vogue’s demise was not terribly unexpected. The magazine had been reduced to quarterly, but it had recently received a lot of attention due to its editorial fighting spirit. Writer Lauren Duca, in particular, had garnered attention for her biting critiques of the new president. It is assumed that we will continue to see her byline via the web.

Other magazines effected are Allure, Architectural Digest, GQ, Glamour and Bon Appétit, which will reduce their frequencies by an issue a piece, while Condé Nast Traveler will go from 10 to eight issues per year. Other titles will not change their frequencies in print.

There are many drivers for the pullback including declining newsstand sales, print ad declines, and the failure of development successful digital editions. It is the last of these reasons that stand out to me, as the major publishing houses were always reluctant digital edition advocates, while constantly promoting the idea that print was enjoying a renaissance (Hearst has been beating this drum loudly as of late.)

Condé Nast, as part of the privately owned Advance, does not report earnings (same goes for Hearst). So, the best way to see trends at magazine publishing houses is to wait for reports from Meredith and Time Inc. Meredith reported good earnings last week, but it was boosted by its broadcast holdings. Time Inc. reports next week, but it has already been reported that the company was hit with yet another round of layoffs. It is also looking to sell Time Inc. UK and several of its US titles.

The Coverage:

Quartz, Marc Bain:

Teen Vogue, 2016’s breakout political publication, will cease printing

But perhaps the biggest news is that it will cease printing Teen Vogue entirely.

The magazine had renewed its relevance recently thanks to a new, more politically and culturally aware perspective, exemplified by its political coverage around Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency. Lauren Duca’s December 2016 story on Trump’s psychological manipulation of American voters — Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America — was a viral hit that alerted many readers to a Teen Vogue they weren’t familiar with.

WWD, Alexandra Steigrad:

Condé Nast to Cease Teen Vogue in Print, Cut 80 Jobs and Lower Mag Frequencies

The New York-based publisher, which has instilled a hiring freeze, will slash about 80 jobs, equal to a decrease of about 2.5 percent of its 3,000-person workforce. Budgets across departments are also expected to get a haircut, with the worst-performing divisions and magazines getting cuts of up to 20 percent…

…Teen Vogue’s buzzy editor in chief Elaine Welteroth may remain working on the title in some capacity and will likely find an additional role at the company, an insider noted. No word yet on what that role might be. Since the presidential election, Teen Vogue has emerged as a critical voice for Gen-Z and Millennials to rail against the Trump administration, as well as a platform to highlight diversity issues. While the digital report has been largely run by Phillip Picardi, who also oversees Allure’s web site, Welteroth has become the face of Teen Vogue. Sources have surmised that Welteroth could grab a job as editor in chief of Glamour or editor in chief of Allure (and its current editor, Michelle Lee, be moved to Glamour). Another perhaps more plausible scenario is that Welteroth grows a new brand at Condé Nast, as Picardi has with Them, a site focusing on LGBTQ issues.