Condé Nast is get into producing TV, film and digital programing with the introduction of a new entertainment division and has brought in TV network veteran Dawn Ostroff to operate it. Ostroff is leaving her post at the CW, the network she helped launch in 2006 to become president, Condé Nast Entertainment.
With magazine publishing in general struggling to hold on to the gains it made since the weak advertising recovery, publishers have been trying to find other revenue streams that are related to its brands. The most recent example of Condé Nast thinking beyond the magazine business was the debut this summer of a non-editorial iPad app Idea Flight that’s intended as an organizer for in-person meetings. It marked a new direction for Condé Nast as “service provider” not just a publisher.
Condé Nast didn’t offer any details about arrangements with outside producers, but then, that’s what Ostroff’s hire is all about. Certainly, magazine stories can serve as the basis for a Hollywood production, so Ostroff will likely be looking to the company’s existing properties for ideas. But there also might be independent productions that have no clear relationship to the publisher’s brands, which include Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Glamour.
Ostroff helped develop the hit series Gossip Girl and America’s Next Top Model, so it’s easy to see some affinity with Condé Nast’s titles, which tend to tap into some sense of cultural aspiration, urban sophistication and high fashion. That said, translating those qualities from the printed page to movie and TV screens is going to be a challenge for Condé Nast, though it sounds as if Ostroff will have extensive resources at her disposal. Besides, since these are the days when just anyone can have a hit video online, Condé Nast has little to lose by trying to expand the field it competes on.