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Conde Nast is an international magazine publisher that specializes in lifestyle publications.
Conde Nast publishes many of the world’s leading fashion and lifestyle magazines, including Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and GQ. It also publishes The New Yorker and Wired and owns the tech blog Ars Technica and the link-sharing site Reddit. It launched a fashion school in London in 2013. Conde Nast sold a group of publications under the division Fairchild Fashion Media to Penske Media for $100 million in 2014, 15 years after it bought Fairchild from Disney for $650 million.
Owned since 1959 by the Newhouse family’s Advance Publications and chaired by S.I. “Si” Newhouse Jr., Conde Nast has been known for several decades as one of the United States’ more glamorous and free-spending publishing empires. Its profits typically have been low, though, because of its lavish spending and consistent investment in new titles.
Still, the company has made significant cuts and layoffs since 2008 as a result of declining advertising and profit. In 2009, it closed several magazines including Portfolio (whose website was kept alive by another Advance subsidiary), Domino, and Modern Bride.
Since the early 2000s, Conde Nast’s advertising department has designed and developed advertising campaigns, similar to a full-fledged ad agency. It expanded into digital-only ads in 2010 and multimedia, social media and apps in 2011.
Conde Nast began its first websites in the mid-1990s. The company’s digital operations had long been run by CondeNet, which was turned into Conde Nast Digital in 2009 as all of its digital properties were merged into one unit. Until the late 2000s, the company placed relatively little emphasis on digital media: As of 2008, only about 3 percent of its ad revenue came from digital properties, among the lowest totals in the industry.
Conde Nast announced an advertising and content-sharing partnership with the video site Hulu in 2009. It announced a partnership with Amazon in 2013 that allowed Amazon to manage subscriptions for its top titles and package them to Amazon subscribers.
The company launched its first mobile products in 2005 and gave its publications individual mobile sites in 2008. GQ was the first magazine to launch an iPhone app with a full replica of the magazine. Conde Nast developed its own reader platform for the app. The company also plans to incorporate Twitter and Facebook into its iPhone apps.
Conde Nast was among the first publishers to announce plans for iPad editions of its publications, starting with versions of Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Glamour. The Wired iPad app, at $4.95 an issue, quickly outsold the print edition in its early months, now averaging about a third of the print edition’s sales. In early 2011, Conde Nast raised the price on two of its tablet publications, GQ and Vanity Fair, to more closely align with newsstand pricing. In May 2011, it announced a new deal with Apple using its subscription model that would place several Conde Nast magazines in the App Store at $19.99 per year.
Conde Nast is also part of a consortium of magazine publishers, Next Issue Media, that released magazine subscriptions on Android-powered Samsung Galaxy tablets in May 2011 and a flat-rate subscription across magazines for the iPad in July 2012. Conde Nast was also one of the initial publishers to sign on with Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
Ars Technica is a technology news site owned by Conde Nast that covers gadgets, gaming, science, and policy. The site was founded in 1998 by Ken Fisher, who remains its editor-in-chief. It was acquired by Conde Nast in 2008 for about $25 million and had a staff of about 10 as of 2009. (It added full-time…