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January 23, 2019

GQ, Pitchfork and Condé Nast's 19 other magazines will have website paywalls by 2020

Business Media
conde nast magazines Condé Nast/Facebook

A collection of Condé Nast covers. By 2020, each of the company's print brands will function under some type of paywall online.

By the end of this year, all 21 magazine brands under the Condé Nast umbrella will have paywalls on their websites, according to a staff memo from company CEO Bob Sauerberg released Wednesday.

The initiative comes after the magazine giant implemented its first paywalls in 2014 with The New Yorker and later with Vanity Fair and Wired.

“Today we’re taking an important step in the evolution of Condé Nast and announcing our intention to launch paywalls across our U.S. portfolio of brands by the end of this year,” Sauerberg wrote in the memo.

“This is the next phase of a strategy that was implemented with the launch of the paywall at The New Yorker in 2014. Since then, audiences at The New Yorker, Wired and Vanity Fair have proven that they are willing to pay for the quality content we create, and the performance of those paywalls has exceeded our expectations.”

Though the paywall has been beneficial for The New Yorker, other publications, such as Variety and Newsday (both outside of the Condé Nast world) were forced to drop their paywalls after readership declined.

Not all magazine brands will have the same type of paywall, but each will experiment with what suits their sites best. Some magazine websites will implement a paywall for only specific premium content, for example, while others may have a broader-reaching paywall.

Condé Nast reportedly has been operating at a loss for a few years as print publishing continues its death rattle, though revenues were slightly better during fiscal year 2018 (but a loss is still projected).

Websites impacted by the upcoming paywalls include Vogue, Pitchfork, GQ, Bon Appetit, and others. Browse all Conde Nast's 21 magazines here.

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