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Condé Nast is developing a Web3 strategy and team as the publishing house looks to bring its existing audience into the metaverse.
During a conversation at the Vogue Business and eBay Technology Forum, director of new business innovation Ciara Byrne shared that the publisher, which owns titles including Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker (in addition to Vogue Business), sees an opportunity in the metaverse by leveraging the company’s history of storytelling, partnering with creators.
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“Condé has always been about storytelling, about gathering like-minded and disparate people together and showcasing the most interesting, creative and engaging storytelling, and what is coming with Web3 is going to allow us to continue to do this in an even more engaging way ,” Byrne said. Web3 technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, tokenisation, cryptocurrencies and blockchain stand to enable its titles to “partner more with the creators that have featured in our stories in print, video and fashion shoots”.
Similar to luxury groups such as Kering and LVMH, Condé Nast has assembled an internal Web3 team from various areas of the business, including editorial, design, product and research. It has also enlisted the help of creators and brands who built strong Web3-first communities, Byrne said, and invited them to speak at company-wide education sessions.
Earlier this week, company CEO Roger Lynch told New York Times journalist Kara Swisher that Condé Nast no longer defines itself as “a magazine company,” adding that while Vogue covers still move the needle, the online audience is now greater than print readers.
Already, some titles have dabbled in Web3 and metaverse technologies. Vogue Singapore, a licensed title, has led a number of NFT projects, including a Balmain flame dress commissioned for its launch last year. This March, it partnered with Vogue Ukraine on a series of NFTs. Byrne also points to Time‘s Time Pieces NFT collection as an inspiring publication-led NFT project that successfully built and developed its Web3 community. “You really have to build your Web3 strategy from the ground up with your audiences and your communities front and centre, and with your brand values leading the way,” said Byrne. “There’s no copy and cut strategy that you can just follow.”
While Byrne did not share details on projects or partnerships, she said memberships, such as the recently launched Vogue Clubare a natural point of inspiration.
Byrne acknowledged that many of the company’s current audience might not be Web3 denizens just yet. “These audiences might not be the same audiences right now; I don’t assume that all our Vogue communities are buying and selling NFTs, but I see a really exciting opportunity for all our brands to begin to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3, and to bring our readers into this space more by sharing what we are seeing,” she said. “As I see it, this is a cultural moment. There is a very unique culture driving Web3, and we have always been at the forefront of culture.”
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