History of Condé Nast

Condé Nast History

Condé Nast publishes 128 magazines and maintains and develops over 100 websites across 25 markets. Condé Nast is part of Advance Publications, Inc., one of the largest privately owned media and communications companies in the world. Below is a brief history of Condé Nast.

1. The beginning of Condé Nast

The founder of Condé Nast Publications, Condé Montrose Nast (hereafter referred to as Nast), was born in New York City in 1873. Nast graduated from Georgetown University and later went on to earn a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Despite his legal education, Nast took a job in publishing, as the advertising manager for an American magazine, Collier's Weekly. He not only increased advertising revenue significantly, expanding into regional advertising and introducing double- page spreads and full-colour front and back covers, but also pioneered an edition with editorial devoted to a single topic.

Among his other publishing interests, Nast was Vice President of the Home Pattern Company, a manufacturer and distributer of women’s dress patterns. Here, he became knowledgeable about women’s fashion and women’s magazines, and subsequently in 1909 went on to purchase Vogue.

Founded in the US in 1892, by Arthur Baldwin Turnure, Vogue was a weekly society magazine, which recorded social events and offered guidance on etiquette, including advice on what to wear for such occasions. Nast transformed the publication into a bimonthly women’s fashion magazine. Commercially, Nast recognised the value of Vogue readers as an influential and affluent audience and pursued high-end advertisers willing to pay extra to reach them. Similarly aware that Vogue readers demanded the highest editorial quality and standards, he hired the best illustrators and photographers to create attractive, stimulating content focusing on fashion. Vogue flourished and within a year under his management, subscriptions doubled, newsstand sales tripled and the magazine was carrying 44% more advertising pages than its closest competitor. Addressing his advertisers, Nast commented: ‘Those who used Vogue on my first invitation eighteen months ago did so largely in my faith to deliver. Those who did so five months ago did so on a mixture of fact and fiction. Now I ask you to come on fact alone.’

Following Vogue’s success, Condé Nast purchased an interest in House & Garden in 1911 and subsequently purchased the magazine outright. In 1913 Vanity Fair was purchased and in 1939, three years before Nast died, Glamour magazine launched. In his lifetime Nast was known as one who always originated, a champion of excellence and innovation. A century later, his commitment to editorial quality remains the core value underlying Condé Nast companies worldwide.

Today, Condé Nast US publishes 18 magazines, including in addition to Vogue, Vanity Fair and Glamour, the globally renowned brands of GQ, Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler and Wired.

2. Growth and expansion in Europe

Britain

Recognising the strength of the Vogue brand internationally and a demand for it in Britain in particular, Condé Nast exported copies of American Vogue to be sold in the UK. However, in 1916, the intensification of submarine warfare in the Atlantic limited the cargoes carried by the merchant fleet to essential supplies only. To meet the continuing demand for Vogue, Nast launched the British edition. British Vogue was thus the first Condé Nast International publication. Since then, the British company has gone on to publish a number of market-leading publications, including Brides, Britain’s longest- standing wedding title, launched in 1955, and Tatler – launched in 1709, one of the first magazines in the world and the oldest magazine in Britain – acquired by Condé Nast in 1982. In the same year, British Condé Nast purchased the design and decoration magazine The World of Interiors. In April 2001 the British edition of Glamour launched. The company also developed two new Condé Nast brands: Easy Living (2005), a women’s magazine for ‘busy grown-up women with a modern attitude’, and Love (2009), a visually striking style magazine published biannually. Another biannual, GQ Style, which launched in 2005, is a men’s fashion and style title produced by GQ. 13 consumer magazines, including GQ, Wired (voted British Society of Magazine Editors Launch of the Year 2009), Vanity Fair, House & Garden and Condé Nast Traveller, and a number of contract publishing titles, all contribute to the ongoing success of the British Condé Nast company.

France

In 1920, Nast established Vogue in Paris. As with every Vogue edition globally, Vogue Paris adheres to Vogue’s core brand values while editorially delivering a unique and distinct voice and personality. Condé Nast France currently publishes seven magazines, including Glamour, GQ and AD, and biannual editions of Vogue Collections, Vogue Hommes International and AD Collector.

Italy

1965 saw the launch of Vogue Italy, followed by L’Uomo Vogue three years later. Condé Nast Italy has implemented a number of successful initiatives, including launching Vanity Fair, which is considered the leading national weekly title in Italy. Condé Nast Italy has also built strong positioning within the Italian bridal market with Vogue Sposa and Sposabella and was the first to introduce the ‘handbag-size’ Glamour, which has since become the standard format for a number of the international Glamour editions and their competitors. Italian editions of GQ, AD, Condé Nast Traveller and Wired were also introduced and are strong leaders in their respective categories. Condé Nast Italy currently publishes 14 magazines.

Germany

Condé Nast Germany launched Vogue in 1979 and GQ in 1997, followed by versions of AD and Glamour. In 2005 Condé Nast Germany successfully launched Myself, introducing a new women’s brand to the Condé Nast portfolio. In 2009, Vogue Germany celebrated its thirtieth anniversary with three separate 732-page issues, making it one of the largest consumer magazines ever published in Germany. Condé Nast Germany currently publishes six magazines.

Spain

The first Condé Nast title to launch in Spain was Vogue, in 1988. Such was its success, that a number of specialised titles have since been launched, including Vogue Novias, Vogue Niños, Vogue Belleza, Vogue Colecciones, Vogue Complementos and Vogue Joyas. Glamour launched in Spain in 2002 and the following year was voted Magazine of the Year. Glamour is now the best-selling women’s monthly magazine in Spain. Spanish editions of GQ, AD, Vanity Fair and Condé Nast Traveler are also strong leaders in their respective categories. Condé Nast Spain publishes from Madrid and has a regional office in Barcelona. It currently publishes 14 magazines, including Sposabella Portugal.

Russia

Vogue launched in Russia in 1998. There are now six Condé Nast titles in Russia – Vogue, GQ, AD, Glamour, GQ Style and Tatler – and October 2011 will see the launch of Russian Condé Nast Traveller, which will be the seventh edition of this title worldwide. In 2009 Glamour Russia won ‘The Year’s Leader in Sales’ award in the category Print Media Publications for Women. In the same year, Karina Dobrotvorskaya, President of Condé Nast Russia, was named among ‘Best Managers’ in the Media Business category in the annual ratings published by Kommersant, a leading Russian business newspaper.

3. Expansion in Asia Pacific

Australia

Vogue was introduced in Asia Pacific with the 1959 launch of Vogue Australia followed by Vogue Living. Both titles are now published under licence agreement with News Magazines Pty Ltd, which also publishes GQ and the recently launched GQ Style.

Korea and Taiwan

1996 was a significant year for expansion in Asia Pacific with the launch of Vogue Korea, under a licence agreement with Doosan Magazine, and the simultaneous launch of Vogue and GQ in Taiwan. In 2001 GQ launched in Korea, followed in subsequent years by Korean editions of Vogue Girl, Allure and W.

Japan

In 1999 Vogue Japan launched. In addition to Vogue, Condé Nast Japan also publishes GQ and a number of biannual titles, including Vogue Hommes, Vogue Girl and Wired.

China

Vogue服饰与美容 launched in China in 2005. Additional Condé Nast China titles include GQ智族, GQ Style, Self悦己 and Modern Bride新娘. Each of these Chinese titles has developed into the market leader in their category. The 2011 launch of AD安邸, the premium architecture, design and lifestyle magazine, marked the sixth Condé Nast magazine cooperation in China and eighth AD launch globally.

India

Condé Nast was the first international publishing company to enter the Indian market with 100 per cent ownership. The launch of Vogue India in 2007 was the seventeenth Vogue launch worldwide. Condé Nast India has since launched a number of other magazines, including GQ in 2008, followed by Condé Nast Traveller in 2010. AD is scheduled to launch in India in March 2012.

4. Expansion in Central and Latin America

Glamour was the first Condé Nast magazine to launch in Mexico in the late 1990s, followed shortly by Vogue and AD. GQ launched there in 2006. Latin American Vogue, Glamour and GQ editions have also been successfully established in Spanish speaking markets in Central America and Latin America, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Panama.

Brazil

Vogue was introduced in Brazil with the launch of Vogue and Casa Vogue in 1975. Condé Nast now publishes five magazines there under a joint venture with Editora Globo.

5. Other markets

In addition to the aforementioned markets, Condé Nast International includes licensees in Africa and Europe. Over the past 13 years there have been 16 launches in nine markets. Of these launches, seven were of Glamour – in Greece, Poland, Hungary, South Africa, The Netherlands, Romania and Bulgaria. The first magazine launch in Portugal was GQ in 2001, followed a year later by the launch of Vogue. The most recent Vogue launch was the 2010 launch of Vogue Turkey.

Condé Nast International currently publishes 110 magazines and maintains and develops over 80 websites across 24 markets. Condé Nast International includes all territories outside the US.

6. The Newhouse family

Samuel I. Newhouse, born in 1895 in New York City, was the eldest of eight children. Like Nast, he graduated in law before embarking on a career in publishing. His first acquisition was that of the New York newspaper Staten Island Advance in 1922. He subsequently bought a number of newspapers throughout the US and established the parent company Advance Publications, Inc.

In 1959, some 17 years following Nast’s death, Advance purchased a controlling interest in Condé Nast and subsequently bought the company outright. At the time Condé Nast published 11 magazines in three markets (US, UK and France) including the recently acquired US edition of Brides (1959).

Advance is now one of the largest, privately owned media and communications companies in the world and owns more than 20 newspapers, Bright House Networks (one of the largest owners and operators of cable systems in the US), and numerous websites and trade, consumer and business journals. Advance also owns an interest in Discovery Communications which includes the Discovery Channel.

Over his lifetime, Samuel I. Newhouse was responsible for philanthropic contributions totalling over $25 million; a major beneficiary of this generosity was education, including the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

The son of Samuel I. Newhouse, Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr. (known as Si), took over responsibility of Condé Nast in the late 1970s and is the current Chairman. Over three decades, Si Newhouse has built Condé Nast into one of the largest, most successful American media companies, an upscale arbiter of popular culture from fashion to fiction. He expanded the American business with Self magazine in 1979 and shortly afterwards purchased Gentleman’s Quarterly, the men’s fashion title. In 1983, Si Newhouse re-launched Vanity Fair and over the next few years acquired or launched a number of magazines, including The New Yorker (1985), Condé Nast Traveler (1987), Details (1988), Allure (1991), Architectural Digest (1993), Bon Appétit (1993), Wired (1998), W (1999), Lucky (2000), Golf World (2001), Golf Digest (2001) and Teen Vogue (2003).

Jonathan Newhouse, Si’s first cousin, was appointed President of Condé Nast International in 1989 and was named Chairman in 1991. He has expanded the company’s magazine portfolio and developed the international business into a multi-media company with strong digital brands.

Jonathan Newhouse is an Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters of France, an honour awarded by the government to individuals who have contributed to the cultural life of the nation.

7. Iconic editors, notable events and corporate social responsibility

Echoing the Condé Nast emphasis on quality and innovation, a number of the Condé Nast editors have themselves become significant leaders and champions of their industry. Anna Wintour, for example, American Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief since 1988 led the establishment of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and is also active in charitable organisations; she has been honoured for her AIDS fundraising with the amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS research) Award of Courage for AIDS Research. In 2011, Wintour was made a Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’Honneur and was presented with the prestigious award by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2003, Franca Sozzani, the Editor-in-Chief of Italian Vogue and editorial director of Condé Nast Italy, was awarded the Premiolino Prize – the oldest and most prestigious award for journalistic achievement in Italy. She was later awarded the national honour Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Industry). In 2004, Carlo Verdelli, Vanity Fair Italy’s Editor-in-Chief, also received the Premiolino Prize. In the same year, Alexandra Shulman, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, won the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors) Editors’ Editor award, the highest magazine editorial honour in the country, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours List of 2005, for services to magazine journalism.

Special events have also played a significant role in Condé Nast’s history, providing opportunities for editors to interact and engage with their readers and to celebrate individuals who have contributed to society. In 1996, American GQ launched the Men of the Year issue and event, and this has now become the signature GQ event with a number of international GQs celebrating their own Men of the Year including Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Japan, Australia, India, China and Mexico. Other notable fixtures include Glamour’s Women of the Year, which honours exceptional women; Allure’s Best of Beauty Awards; and Condé Nast Traveller’s Luxury Travel Fair.

Under the leadership of American Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour, Fashion’s Night Out has become an international retail event, bringing together designers, retailers, shoppers and celebrities to engage in a night of shopping and entertainment. In its first year, 2009, 13 Vogues participated; in 2010, 16; and in 2011, all 18 Vogues plan to take part. As well as its benefit to the participating retailers, Fashion’s Night Out also incorporates a significant charitable element. In 2010, Vogue India Fashion’s Night Out supported Habitat for Humanity, and Vogue Japan Fashion’s Night Out supported Children without Borders.

Throughout the decades, Condé Nast magazines, websites and staff have undertaken activities supporting charitable organisations. These include the US Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Awards, honouring travel companies that exhibit remarkable social responsibility; the Vogue Fashion Fund in both the US and UK, which has awarded scholarships and financial assistance to some of the most promising, emerging fashion talent; Self’s breast-cancer awareness initiatives, including editorial features and educational and fundraising events; Wired Italy’s Internet for Peace campaign, to nominate the internet for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010; and a number of personal donations from the Newhouse family, including a contribution to the 2011 Japan earthquake relief efforts.

8. Digital expansion: websites, social media and growth of multi-media platforms

Condé Nast has developed high-quality, innovative digital products and services around the world for many years. The company currently maintains and develops over 100 websites and 100 mobile applications in over 20 countries, and has developed a strong presence on the key social media platforms. Through these digital channels, Condé Nast currently reaches some 110 million consumers each month.

Condé Nast’s first website, www.epicurious.com, was launched in the US in 1995, and has since won some 60 significant awards, including the 2011 National Magazine Award for General Excellence in Digital Media (Service and Lifestyle sites). In 1994, Wired’s www.wired.com website (later acquired by Condé Nast) revolutionised online advertising through the display of the web’s first ever banner advertisement. In Condé Nast ownership, Wired has launched successful local websites in the UK, Italy and Japan.

British Vogue’s website, www.vogue.co.uk, was launched in 1996, and has since won a range of national and international awards. As it celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in March 2011, the website attracted a record one million monthly unique users, the same number as was also achieved that month by Vogue Italy with its much-admired www.vogue.it website.

To respond to the recent rapid growth in popularity of tablet computers and smartphones, Condé Nast has diversified further into the field of multi-media publishing, launching over 100 specialised applications. In 2010 US Wired was one of the first major magazines to launch an interactive digital replica on the Apple iPad, and Condé Nast Japan prepared all of its magazines for distribution on the iPad as soon as it went on sale in Japan. In June 2010, Vogue Germany became the first European fashion magazine available on the iPad, and in 2011 Vogue and Condé Nast Traveller India editions were the first luxury media brands to launch on the Blackberry Playbook.

Condé Nast also makes effective use of social media to engage consumers, in particular with the Vogue brand. In 2007, British Vogue became the first women’s magazine channel on YouTube. Since then, Vogue Paris has become the most popular social media luxury brand in France, with over a million fans across Twitter and Facebook. Vogue India’s social media presence has also been one of the fastest growing accounts in the Indian market on both Facebook and Twitter.

9. Other activities

Other Condé Nast activities include the establishment of a Restaurants Division currently comprised of the Tatler Club, GQ Bar and Vogue Café in Russia; the successful Vogue TV programme in Taiwan; the Condé Nast Worldwide News store in London – the first newsagent anywhere to sell all Condé Nast magazines; a number of books created by Condé Nast editors; and a Vogue Masters degree in Fashion & Beauty Communication in Spain. Condé Nast also publishes over 30 contract-publishing magazines and websites across eight markets, ranging from luxury hotels to exclusive automobiles. A number of additional activities are currently being explored.

About us: Condé Nast is a media company producing targeted, branded products which are positioned as the best, most authoritative in their fields. Condé Nast globally publishes 128 magazines and maintains and develops over 100 websites across 25 markets. It is one of the largest privately owned publishing companies. For further information, please contact Nicky Eaton, Condé Nast International Communications Director at nicky.eaton@condenast.co.uk, or, for internal enquiries relating to the company’s history and development, contact Marissa Sparacino at msparacino@condenastint.com.