Conde Nast Edges Further Into Selling Videos on Demand

You Don't Need the App Store to Try Charging for Content

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NEW YORK ( -- Conde Nast, which is trying to reorient its business away from an overwhelming dependence on ad pages, is moving further into paid content online with a pair of video offerings that consumers can shell out to watch.

The ongoing golf-instruction series will cost $9.99 per month.
The ongoing golf-instruction series will cost $9.99 per month.
On Monday Golf Digest will introduce Golf Digest on Demand, an ongoing golf-instruction series featuring young golf instructors that will cost $9.99 per month. Customers can view the videos they buy and download on their computers or mobile devices such as the iPad and smartphones. The magazine has committed to running the series for three months but hopes to expand it to a year. The offering builds on the magazine's experience selling a series of roundtable discussions with staff instructors last January for $4.99 each, still available at the site where the new videos will appear Monday.

"For 60 years, our readers have come to us with three purposes: how to play, what to play and where to play," said editor in chief Jerry Tarde. "Being able to deliver service content in video downloaded onto iPads, smartphones and laptops is a natural extension of the brand."

The New Yorker, meanwhile, begins streaming live content from certain New Yorker Festival events today and will make it available later on demand, charging $4.95 per event or $59.95 for full access. Free short highlight clips will link to the full programs available for purchase. The New Yorker Festival runs from Oct. 1 through Oct. 3.

There are, of course, advertising possibilities in all this -- if they're handled correctly. "It's verboten to include ads in paid content that's paid for by the consumer, unless it's valuable to that consumer," said Kipp Marcus, senior VP of business and chief amplifier at iAmplify, Golf Digest's tech partner on its effort. "For instance, a wrapper with a discount that's contextually relevant: I would say give it a try and listen to your audience." The other way to go is to let an advertiser sponsor the content and provide it free, he said.

HSBC, the presenting sponsor of this year's New Yorker Festival, is letting customers who use their Premier credit or debit cards view the festival's live streams and video on demand for free. Even those viewers, however, won't see ads before or during the videos. The free previews, on the other hand, will include HSBC pre-roll advertising.

Conde, publisher of magazines from Glamour to The New Yorker, isn't the first magazine publisher to sell videos on the web. Health and fitness titles have proved to be the early adopters. Meredith Corp.'s Fitness, for example, sells abdominals workout videos from $2.95 through $19.95 using iAmplify. Yoga Journal is also using iAmplify to sell videos at its Download Center. The website of Men's Health, in another approach, offers a personalized fitness trainer service whose many tools include workout videos; it costs $19.95 a month or $99 a year.

But the dominant model is to show videos for free, subsidized by ad units of one form or another. Conde, which for many years showed little inclination to move beyond a reliance on ad pages sales, has been talking about a "new business model" and moving "beyond the magazine" since it named Bob Sauerberg its president in July.

Follow Nat Ives on Twitter.

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