“Thumping in at 430 pages, the September issue of Vogue is the largest since the financial crash of 2008,” states The Guardian’s Josh Halliday enthusiastically in last week’s Media Blog.
“More significantly,” Halliday continues, “it carries more advertising than any edition in the past five years, with 272 pages bought by luxury brands including Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Dior. Is this a return to the boom-time at Vogue House?
More pages and more advertising is a good sign that the magazine and its publisher are still in growth mode. According to Nicholas Coleridge, president of Conde Nast International, “Brand Vogue has never been more powerful or profitable, or enjoyed a wider reach, than today.”
While the numbers show that print circulation is down slightly over the second half of 2012 (by 3.1%), the company is showing higher profit as advertisers come back to the fold. Coleridge has been “pleasantly surprised” by the resilience of sales and revenue figures in his high-end brand.
To be sure, Conde Nast is quick to include digital sales in its total circulation figures.
Those digital copies being purchased for iPads and tablets are showing growth, “but those editions still account for a fraction of overall sales and still fail to offset the decline in print,” cautions Halliday.
“If this [digital sales] is the next level of their business plan you should be seeing exponential growth,” says Rob Lynam of MEC. “What we’re seeing is marginal growth off an incredibly small base, so it means print sales are even more important to the overall health of the titles.”
Conde Nast agrees, as evidenced by their new fall issue. Fashion fans and publishing types alike should be thumbing through the hefty issue with renewed optimism for the health of the industry this fall.