Conde Nast, the publisher of magazines such as Glamour and The New Yorker, is trying to move further beyond its core business of ad-page sales with a new marketing services division.
The division, called Conde Nast Ideactive, will marshal a lot of the same creative and digital capabilities Conde already offers its advertisers, but with particular emphasis on work that isn't tied to traditional ad buys or ad budgets. Ideactive's services, for example, will include app development, video, web design and social media.
"We are in business to do custom content and all of these capabilities untethered to media," said Lou Cona, chief marketing officer at Conde Nast.
"We're really targeting the non-media budgets out there," Mr. Cona added.
Publishers have been increasingly trying to position themselves as partners to marketers, not only as vendors of ad space, and diversify their businesses in the process. Last year Hearst bought the search specialist iCrossing, for example, while Meredith bought the mobile agency Hyperfactory. A year ago a Conde Nast digital creative services unit said it would accept assignments from clients whether or not the ads were slated for Conde properties, creating ads for Kenneth Cole that appeared on YouTube and Facebook.
Last Wednesday Source Interlink Media, whose titles include Hot Rod and Snowboarder, acquired the digital-marketing and visual-effects studio Mind Over Eye. "We believe there are significant revenue opportunities for us to pair high-quality creative services with our outstanding marketing reach to enthusiast audiences via print, online, mobile, tablets and video," Source Interlink Media President Chris Argentieri said as he announced the deal.
Publishers have the advantage of direct, ongoing relationships with consumers, not to mention hallways full of professional content producers, said Ms. Desmond, who added that their moves into creative, digital and production services don't put them in conflict with regular agencies.
"I think it's smart for a publisher to aggregate and leverage the insights about audiences they have," Ms. Desmond said. "The more they can work with agencies and clients to inspire great content and great marketing ideas, the better off the publishing industry is ."
Conde Nast Ideactive will offer services to any marketer, but those that advertise with Conde will get better rates, the company said. The unit will comprise six dedicated staffers, including two new hires, led by Ideactive VP Janine Silvera, who had been senior executive director of integrated marketing at Conde Nast. It will pull in resources from the rest of the company as needed, Mr. Cona said.