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Vogue India Relaunched; Maya Hari On Conde Nast India’s Approach To Digital

Conde Nast India’s digital property Vogue.in has a new wardrobe: the website for the premium fashion property was relaunched over the weekend, featuring blogs, an integrated twitter feed, a separate online editorial team, videos, and content related to high street fashion, parties and lifestyle. Premium lifestyle content is scarce in the Indian online space, and the recently constituted digital division at Conde Nast India has plans to take more properties online. Last week, before the launch of the property, MediaNama spoke with Maya Hari, Head of Condé Nast India Digital (Internet & Mobile), on Conde Nast Digital’s approach to the premium content in Internet space, as well as their approach to advertising for a premium property. Part 1 of the interview:

What plans do you have for Conde Nast Digital in India?

We are launching a portfolio of products in the Internet and Mobile space. We believe that there’s a big gaping hole in media properties online and mobile which cater to the premium audience, a space which we know well. Conde Nast owns a number of publishing titles, which have always catered to the luxury and premium audience. The time is absolutely right in India, if you look at the 70 million plus Internet audience, and just the addressable audience for our kind of properties – we’re talking about two million households, who are premium users. Every premium household has broadband access of some sort, and generally has a smart phone. If they’re spending time in this medium, why would we not want to be there. That was the goal behind setting up a digital arm for the company in India now.

We’ve assembled a team which is all from the digital space – we have people who have developed products for TravelGuru and Travelocity, we have people who have worked at Pinstorm and Mindshare Interactive; we have editorial people who have written for Handbag.com and Cosmopoliton.co.uk. We really have brought the best of the best from the Internet and digital space in the company, so that we don’t end up being someone that doesn’t know how to do digital well. Scanning a magazine and putting it up online is not our digital strategy. We’re (re)launching www.Vogue.in, which already has a loyal following and decent traffic. Following Vogue, we’re going to launching the GQIndia portal, which will be essentially focused on the premium man, and focused on the 360 degree lifestyle interest areas, similar to how the magazine caters to the premium man – style, grooming, cars, gadgets, women, food, drink and travel; a lifestyle destination. With both Vogue online and GQ content, we’ll have a balance between Indian and International focus, because our audience spends a lot of time travelling abroad. It’s all created by a dedicated editorial team that sits here.

You’ve got plans to launch blogs? You’re hosting videos on YouTube?
We would have a blogging component to all of our sites. Blogging is such established phenomenon for the Internet space; be it in Vogue, GQ, we would have blogs, there would be a series of blogs – an Editors blog, things that more inviting users to share their blogs on our platform. It will be a mix of editor’s blogs versus user generated content. On videos, we will host it ourselves. We’re using YouTube while we put the infrastructure in place, but within a month or two, we’ll host it ourselves.

(ED: Vogue has celebrity blogs, readers blogs, and a Vogue Team blog)

What plans to do you have with the directory listing?
We have a very strong following from the entire fashion community. This is fundamentally their must-read, must-follow destination. The directory will be critical in the long run, to be all inclusive. We will have the ability for designers and celebrities to upload their own content, though it will be moderated. There is a synergy between directory listings and tags.
(ED: the directory listing uses Drupal’s rather powerful cross-category ability to tag and integrate inputs. You can tag multiple segments across the CMS with a tag, and then integrate all of that into a single page. This makes it easy for Vogue.in to have a page for every designer featured, covering all content related to the designer from across segments. As more and more content gets integrated, this feature becomes more and more powerful)

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How’re you approaching the integration of twitter?
Vogue’s leading ladies who are all personalities in their own right, have been tweeting about their extremely interesting lives, because of the nature of the industry that they’re a part of. We really want to build that community through Facebook and Twitter, for people to be able to consume beyond strictly editorial content, where they get a voyeuristic view into the lives of people at Vogue. We’ve done a twitter feed which includes five different twitter handles. All of these people are quite tech savvy, and it’s been a huge hit. We’re just short of 4000 followers right now, which in our space, will grow, but be niche. We’re growing at roughly 100 followers a day.

What’s the thought process around the content piece – online, you need recency, and cant do content once a month?

The reason we have a dedicated editorial team for digital, is precisely to cater to that. There are various factors that lead to good content on digital – recency is one of them. Being able to format content for consumption on digital, is one of them. For example, Vogue has access to the most luxurious of photo shoots, videos and imagery, but one needs to make sure you have it in the right format for consumption online – so a slideshow instead of a very large image. So the print and the digital teams are learning from each other. The digital team is learning about the Vogue way of doing things, and the print team is learning about what works for differently for digital. There is immediacy – the digital editorial team has daily deadlines. Around 5 pieces of content go up every day, and that is expected to go up to 10 pieces. This has to be percieved as a destination and a media property in itself. We have set ourselves up with our own P&L responsibility and sales targets. This way, it ensures that we do survive and sustain ourselves as an independent business.

What’s the ratio of International to exclusive Indian content?
We would always have a 50:50 content balance between the two. That’s how our audience thinks of content in general between Indian and international. Even though we cover international brands, we cover it from the perspective of what an Indian user likes.

Vogue.com redirects to Vogue.in for Indian IP Addresses?
Yes, and it will remain. We do this in several international markets, where Vogue as a parent brand exists in multiple countries.

How big a team do you have for the digital side?
Currently we have a team of about 10 people, with representation in editorial, sales, product and technology.

Condé Nast India Sets Up Digital Divison With Maya Hari At The Helm

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IMPORTANT: Criticism is welcome, but please keep your comments civil. Personal comments and those with  abusive language will be moderated. We’re open to debate, but not libel.

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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