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Vanity Fair Launches Digital Paywall

Vanity Fair is joining the long list of publications at Condé Nast that are putting their digital content behind paywalls, as the publisher battles print and ad revenue declines in the magazine industry.

Starting this week, after people read their fourth article in a month, they’ll be required to subscribe for $19.99 a year for either digital-only or print plus digital. (Video and slideshows will be exempt from the paywall.) To sweeten the offer further, Vanity Fair also is offering a searchable archive of its articles, a subscriber-only newsletter and evaluating giving subscribers access to its writers and editors.

“At a moment when quality journalism is not a luxury, but a necessity, it will enable us to invest in our reporting, writing, photography and video, expanding into new areas and onto new platforms, with you, our core readers and viewers, clearly in focus,” wrote Radhika Jones, Vanity Fair’s new editor-in-chief, in a note to readers.

She added, “It’s a move long in the making, driven by our desire to build our loyal digital audience into a true community—the kind that a subscriber-based ecosystem cultivates—and by our ambitions to deliver more to that community.”

Earlier this year Condé Nast’s Wired magazine also went behind a paywall. Speaking at the time to The Wall Street JournalWIRED editor-in-chief Nick Thompson explained that the paywall was part of a “business and editorial reboot” in a bid to secure the publication’s future in an uncertain time for the magazine industry.

“The simple reason that we’re going to a paywall model is that I think it’s going to make money, and I’d like us to make more money,” Thompson told the WSJ. Even more significantly, he added, “The deeper reason we’re going to a paywall model is because you need to hedge against the future.”

Further reading:

Vanity Fair: The Future, and You

Wall Street Journal: Paywall Will Be Wired’s ‘Hedge Against the Future’

What’s New in Publishing: The good, the bad and the ugly of launching a paywall in 2018

Digiday: Vanity Fair launches a $20-a-year digital paywall