Teen Vogue is taking a cue from fellow publishers and downsizing on print by investing in digital.
The Condé Nast-owned publication announced Monday that it will drop from nine print issues per year to four quarterly issues, following slumping print sales. Teen Vogue has a verified circulation of more than one million readers, but experienced a 50 percent drop in single copy sales in the first half of 2016, according to Alliance for Audited Media. As part of the the effort, Teen Vogue will also make an increased investment in digital, video and social content, indicative of a larger shift to increase digital efforts—not just among print publications, but also by fashion industry advertisers that are losing interest in glossies.
The new quarterly publication — which is expected to debut in 2017 and will be centered around specific themes like young love — will be larger in scale, acting more as a collectible item than the existing print magazine. Though there are no layoffs anticipated, Teen Vogue has also appointed Amy Oelkers, formerly of Self, to head of revenue as part of the transition. She will work closely with Jim Norton, Condé Nast’s chief business officer and president of revenue. (Teen Vogue declined to comment for the story.)
Following a merger of its business staff with Vogue’s and rumors that it might be rolled into its sister publication, Teen Vogue has undergone several changes over the past year, including the formation of a new leadership team, helmed by lead editor Elaine Welteroth, digital editorial director Phillip Picardi and creative director Marie Suter. The trio has taken the place of the traditional editor in chief role at the magazine, formerly held by Amy Asley who led the magazine since its onset in 2003. Welteroth said in a statement that the magazine’s emphasis on digital will demonstrate an evolution of “content across platforms and reimagining how to engage more meaningfully in print.”
A major priority in the coming months will be increasing video output around news and lifestyle coverage. Over the past year, the publication has debuted series including “Letter To My 18-Year-Old Self” that featured celebrities like Emilia Clarke and Kerry Washington, as well as launched a vertical dedicated to health and wellness. Simultaneously it has expanded its social audience to 12 million followers across 15 platforms—considering the publication caters primarily to teenagers and digital natives, social platforms are vital places to reach readers.
The shift toward digital is also a means to lure advertisers who are starting to turn away from print advertising, a shift mirrored by top-tier daily newspapers like The New York Times. Last week, The New York Times Company reported a sharp decline in print advertising by 19 percent in the third quarter, while digital advertising increased 21 percent. Similarly, The Wall Street Journal consolidated several sections of its newsroom in response to a decline in print advertising.
In response, Condé Nast has continued to push toward digital across its publications. In September, the media conglomerate used Vogue to debut its first Snapchat Discover channel to share New York Fashion Week content, following the launch of Vogue’s first mobile app in April. Other Condé Nast publications have also turned to digital strategies to launch new ventures. For example, GQ launched GQ Style—a quarterly print spinoff issue, which started as a standalone website and was promoted almost entirely via Instagram and Twitter—to build brand awareness.