Avid readers of Vogue, Pitchfork and any of Condé Nast’s other publications, prepare to pay up: the publishing giant will place all its U.S.-based titles behind a paywall by the end of 2019.
The initiative will affect brands ranging from Vanity Fair to GQ, Architectural Digest, The New Yorker and Wired. But the paywalls won’t be a “one-size fits all model,” as outgoing CEO Bob Sauerberg noted in a memo to staff, writing, “every brand is distinct, and every brand’s paywall will be its own distinct product.” Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, notes that that paywalls for some Condé brands may affect only specific content, while paywalls for others could cast a wider net.
The news comes on the heels of Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber’s exit from the brand and its parent company, Pitchfork Media.
“These paywalls have proven the ultimate measure of our audience engagement — beyond time spent, it’s money spent,” Sauberg added.
It won’t be the first time the publisher has tested locking content behind metered paywalls, amid dwindling physical magazine sales. The New Yorker was the first Condé brand to take the plunge in November 2014, followed more recently by Wired and Vanity Fair. Elsewhere in the digital media landscape, publications like New York Times and New York Magazine ask readers to pay up.
The new strategy follows a transitional few years for Condé: Last year, the media giant put three of its titles up for sale and ceased print publication for Glamour and others.