Publishing Video

Condé Nast aims to double its current video business

It took three men two hours to shoot a 63-second overhead instructional video of Laura Rege, a recipe developer, making a cake for Bon Appétit — what people in the food-video industry call a “hands and pans.”

At the Kitchen Studio, Condé Nast’s new 7,000-square-foot space in Industry City in Brooklyn, four to six of these “hands and pans” videos are shot daily. It is the type of video on which Tasty, BuzzFeed’s famous recipe offshoot, has built a very large audience.

Now, the company wants to double its current video business. To do so, it will have to move beyond what’s worked in the age of Facebook video, and make something new.

Over the last two years, Bon Appétit’s YouTube subscriber base increased from 34,000 to more than 1 million. In the same period, the number of monthly unique viewers for the videos on its website grew by nearly 2.5 million, according to comScore.

Over all, video now makes up a quarter of revenue for The Lifestyle Collection — that’s Bon Appétit, Architectural Digest, Epicurious, Condé Nast Traveler and the now digital-only publication Self. All told, these brands produce about 40 to 50 videos per week, and that doesn’t include those made for advertisers.

The idea that video will be a financial savior in the media business is contentious, and often mocked. It is expensive to create, and audiences aren’t equivalent — yet — to print or even web in their ability to be monetized. (In human terms: One person watching a video is not financially equivalent to what one person paying for a magazine has been worth.)

But Vogue the magazine has just over a million paid subscriptions, and Vogue the YouTube channel has more than 2.2 million subscribers.

“In the next 24 months, I hope that video is half our business,” said Craig Kostelic, the chief business officer of The Lifestyle Collection. “It’s critical. It’s the macro trend of content consumption.”

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