In an era where magazines and websites seem to be downsizing or pivoting to video, Conde Nast has turned its focus on an oft-overlooked market: the LGBTQ community.
On Wednesday, Teen Vogue digital director Phillip Picardi and Condé Nast announced the upcoming launch of “Them,” the company’s first independent brand since 2007. The publication is slated to be a “mission-driven, multi-platform, LGBTQ-focused publication,” according to Business of Fashion. Them is set to launch the last week of October.
Picardi, the publication’s chief content officer, came to artistic director Anna Wintour with the pitch at the beginning of the summer, the goal in mind to make Condé Nast a leader in authentic storytelling for LGBTQ culture. Picardi hopes the publication will appeal to a wider spectrum of sexual and gender identities over gay-dominant brands and wants to use the platform to inform non-LGBTQ allies, as well.
— Phillip Picardi (@pfpicardi) October 4, 2017
Picardi is credited with helping cultivate Teen Vogue‘s activist focus, as well as significantly growing the publication’s digital traffic. However, Them will step back from the media industry standard of quick-hit content to prioritize community-focused storytelling over publishing 40 to 60 news hits a day. The brand will also integrate videos, podcasts, and more.
“With everyone publishing the same news round-up at 8am, sending the same similar newsletters… it gets exhausting and I think consumers are just trying to be more selective,” Picardi told Business of Fashion. “We’re not expecting hundreds of millions of impressions to deliver on a campaign. But what we are hoping for is a uniquely engaged and extremely impactful storytelling experience.”
Similar to Teen Vogue, Them will cover news and politics through an activist lens by featuring underrepresented cultural figures, advocating for the LGBTQ community, and encouraging community participation.
“It’s not that [a LGBTQ-focused publication] is something that we’ve invented or anything new,” Wintour said. “It’s where we should be. And that, to me, is super important in just the way that the media world understands it…We want to be a part of pushing [culture] forward.”
H/T the Cut