Conde Nast has flirted with TV in the past, through its “Fashion Rocks” and “Movies Rock” specials, but now the publishing giant is diving into the TV, film and digital realm in a concerted way by recruiting former CW entertainment prexy Dawn Ostroff to lead a production division.
As prexy of Conde Nast Entertainment, Ostroff is tasked with developing film, TV and digital projects derived from Conde Nast’s portfolio of brands, which include such blue-chip magazines as the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, W, Details and Architectural Digest, as well as Women’s Wear Daily newspaper.
The wealth of options range from film and TV projects stemming from the mags’ editorial content to prospective cable and digital channels bearing the various Conde Nast brand names.
“The goal here is to take these brands and develop content that will take them across different platforms,” Ostroff told Variety. “There are a lot of different parts of Conde Nast that lend themselves to traditional (media) and the digital space. With all these different digital companies looking for content, now more than ever Conde Nast wants to be in the content business, not just on the publishing side but on the video side.”
Ostroff intends to build an exec team at the entertainment division to help her field projects and attract heavyweight creative talent. “Our goal is to make this unit on par creatively with the magazines,” she said.
But her immediate task will be to hammer out a formal business plan and get to know the company’s many editors and publishers, Ostroff said. She has known Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Conde Nast prexy Robert Sauerberg Jr. for some time, which helped spur her move to the company.
Ostroff joins Conde Nast nearly five months after she exited CW following a five-year run as head of programming. She left in part because of her desire to settle down in New York after years of splitting her time between her family in Gotham and the CW’s HQ in Burbank.
Ostroff was a key player in the launch of CW, formed out of the merger of UPN and the WB in the fall of 2006. Prior to CW, she spent four years overseeing entertainment for UPN. Before that, she headed programming at Lifetime from 1996-2002.
Conde Nast’s past forays outside of publishing include a series of annual concert specials dubbed “Fashion Rocks” for CBS from 2004-2008. It also produced a “Movies Rock” spesh for CBS in 2007.