April 15, 2024

Media Decoder Blog: Condé Nast Plans French Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair magazine, which has been battling declining newsstand sales in the United States, is looking for more readers in Europe. Next year, Condé Nast is starting a monthly edition of Vanity Fair in France. The magazine will share the name of the American publication, but nearly 90 percent of the content will be original.

“When I sit down with the owner of a fashion house or someone in the French cultural life, the first thing they say to me is ‘When are you going to start Vanity Fair?’ ” said Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International.

Over the last 18 months, Condé Nast editors created samples of the new magazine and showed them to focus groups in France. Anne Boulay, the magazine’s new editor in chief, who had been editing French GQ, also a Condé Nast publication, said that women in those groups said they liked “this combination of hard news and glamour.” She said the women felt “they were taken seriously and not just stupid women buying Manolo boots and makeup.”

Other prominent hires have been made for the French magazine. The journalist and television personality Michel Denisot, whom Mr. Newhouse called a French mix of Barbara Walters and Mike Wallace, will be the editorial director. Condé Nast also hired Le Figaro’s fashion editor, Virginie Mouzat, to run the fashion and lifestyle coverage and Hervé Gattegno from Le Point to oversee investigative coverage. Condé Nast has already hired half of the 25-person team that will run the magazine.

Vanity Fair has long been expanding its brand into other countries as it has faced flat circulation and a tough advertising market in the United States. While total advertising revenue for the United States edition rose by 5.9 percent in the second quarter of 2012 from a year earlier, the number of advertising pages declined by 1 percent.

Mr. Newhouse emphasized that Vanity Fair in France was a “completely different different business proposition.” He added that Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair in the United States, would not be actively involved with the French magazine.

“That is one of the biggest challenges we have, how to have the French touch,” said Xavier Romatet, president and chief executive of Condé Nast France. “We need to have the French point of view. We need to be much more close to the French culture, the French people, the French way of life.”

For example, Mr. Romatet and Ms. Boulay said that it was unlikely that French Vanity Fair would feature the former Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, on the cover as Vanity Fair did on its September 2012 issue in the United States. “We have a very different relationship with royalty,” Ms. Boulay said. “We cut off our queens’ and kings’ heads.”

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/cond-nast-plans-french-vanity-fair/?partner=rss&emc=rss