Condé Nast Entertainment sees strength in numbers in the video space–even if that means mixing its high-class brands with those outside the company.
The publishing giant has recruited a slew of brands including Variety to produce original video programming as part of a new aggregation venture in hopes the combined scale will unleash more advertising dollars.
CNE unveiled a new brand, dubbed The Scene, at its newfront presentation Tuesday. That announcement features the participation of select partners that also includes ABC News, Buzzfeed, JASH and Major League Soccer, which will lead key verticals outside of the lifestyle and fashion areas dominated by Conde Nast’s own brands, which include Glamour, GQ and Vanity Fair.
The plan is to stake an unoccupied middle ground for for the growing roster of companies pumping out original video that either aren’t on the level of TV-centric brands that have thrown their lot in with the likes of Hulu, yet more premium than YouTube, where most publishers are struggling to make money.
The strategy speaks to the difficulty of even the most aggressive digital video publishing operation to achieve the kind of reach that makes advertisers sit up and take notice when opportunities to syndicate content are fairly limited once you get beyond the usual suspects.
Under CNE president Dawn Ostroff and chief digital officer Fred Santarpia, the company has turned 10 of its magazine brands into episodic programming machines, most recently adding Allure to that portfolio earlier this month. The unit racked up 560 million views in 2013 across 70 Web series, according to Comscore. Video content from the unit also earned 14 Webby nominations.
The double-edged sword here is that if Conde Nast is able to find enough significant players to pool their content with, there’s an opportunity to create a destination site of impressive depth. But there’s something counterintuitive about recognizable brands subsuming that advantage in service of an entirely new brand starting from scratch to stand out in an already cluttered digital landscape.
CNE and its partners will leverage their own properties to cross-promote the Scene. Launching in July, the brand is also expected to be rolled out as an app on the wide array of devices where Conde Nast brands already have a footprint.
Also announced CNE’s Newfront: The New Yorker, Bon Appetit and Lucky are the latest CNE brands to join the company’s video stable, which will boast over 100 new and returning series.