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BoF Exclusive | Teen Vogue to Go Quarterly, Invest in Digital

The Condé Nast-owned publication will reduce its print presence, scale up its digital efforts and promote Amy Oelkers to head of revenue.
(L-R) Teen Vogue creative director Marie Suter, editor Elaine Welteroth and digital editorial director Phillip Picardi | Photo: Kelly Teacher
  • Lauren Sherman

NEW YORK, United States — Teen Vogue is scaling back its print presence, BoF has learned. The Condé Nast-owned publication will adopt a quarterly print publishing rhythm, while increasing investment in its digital efforts. The title is also promoting Amy Oelkers to head of revenue.

The December 2016/January 2017 issue of Teen Vogue will be the last print edition to follow the magazine's current cadence. A new-format launch is slated for the spring of 2017.

Oelkers will report to Jim Norton, chief business officer and president of revenue for Condé Nast. Susan Plagemann, who was most recently publisher and chief revenue officer of the Vogue Group, which included Teen Vogue, will now focus her efforts entirely on the marquee publication.

"Amy brings an innovative digital-first approach to connecting our advertising partners to Teen Vogue's audience of highly-influential millennials," Norton said. "Investing in Teen Vogue's digital, video and social content, and creating collectible print editions will better engage our audience where and how they consume our content.”

The decision to reduce Teen Vogue’s print presence comes as no surprise. Generation Z — Teen Vogue’s target audience — spends most of its time online. In addition to a more robust digital and social media strategy, the title aims to "vastly" increase its output of video content in the coming months.

Teen Vogue says it reaches an audience of 24 million users a month across its multiple platforms, including web, print, social and live events. Its website traffic has doubled in the past year to 5.4 million unique visitors in September 2016, according to Comscore. Mobile traffic is up 207 percent year over year, with video viewers up 222 percent. The publication's social presence includes 12 million followers across 16 platforms.

In order to give Teen Vogue's new print incarnation a more collectible feel, the book will be larger in format. The theme of the first issue is set to be “young love,” with a deep dive into hot-button issues thought to be important to the reader.

The publication's editorial leadership structure, which was reorganised earlier this year, will remain in tact. Elaine Welteroth will remain editor of Teen Vogue, with Phillip Picardi serving as the publication's digital editorial director and Marie Suter as its creative director.

“Teen Vogue speaks to the future — and our incredible digital growth is proof that young millennials and Generation Z want to be meaningfully engaged,” said Picardi. “As content consumption habits continue to shift towards mobile and video, we are so excited to continue delivering content that gives her more — from resources about sexual health and identity to up-to-the-minute news on social justice and politics.”

“We are excited to continue cultivating a genuine connection with our audience by evolving our content across platforms and reimagining how to engage more meaningfully in print,” said Welteroth. "For this reader, it's about going big — literally — with bigger, bolder statements and a larger, first-to-market keepsake format that gives us the freedom to dive deeper into the topics that matter the most.”

What’s perhaps most unexpected about the announcement is the promotion of Oelkers, who was previously the executive head of digital sales and before that, associate publisher of Self, another Condé Nast publication.

While Condé Nast has, in recent years, followed the industry-wide trend of combining publisher roles — Plagemann running the Vogue Group, Connie Anne Phillips heading up both Glamour and Self — elevating Oelkers indicates that the company may take a more nuanced approach to its broader restructuring, which is set to take place before the new year.

The company has already announced the departure of several top executives, including chief marketing officer Edward Menicheschi and chief administrative officer Jill Bright, as well as the coming retirement of chairman Chuck Townsend. As a part of the restructuring, redundancies are widely expected, though there are no layoffs associated with Teen Vogue's latest move, according to the company.

Related Articles:

Inside the New Teen Vogue
BoF Exclusive | American Vogue Publisher Talks Strategy Shifts

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