Is this the future of international media?

Friday 14 December 2018


Last week Condé Nast and Condé Nast International - respectively the separate US and International arms of the legendary publishing empire - announced that they were to merge.

This bold move reflects a trend that we have seen at multiple media companies, which we outline in our recent thought piece "Journey To The Centre". International media companies are restructuring in order to drive growth - and more than ever this is taking the form of middle-office functions being removed from individual countries and centralised, often accompanied by centralisation of senior management.

Following this course of action is something any international media business should be considering given the benefits it can realise of greater collaboration, improved strategic alignment and often lower costs. However, there is no one-size-fits all strategy for centralising functions and roles – our work outlines the key questions these businesses need to address in order to establish the right configuration for each function:

Have many other companies centralised a given function? Were there clear benefits, beyond cost savings?

Is some local operational execution still required? Is there a need to retain some elements of decision-making at the local level? Is local strategy or control required?

The Condé Nast merger is a continuation of recent moves: Condé Nast have previously announced plans to form an integrated product and technology team to create a single global platform for all of Condé Nast's websites. And since September, global fashion week coverage production for all 25 editions of Vogue around the world has been centralised in London. Evidently, for Condé Nast, London will remain critical: the new Chairman of Condé Nast's board of directors, Jonathan Newhouse, will also remain in London

This is a welcome counterbalance to a trend we identified in Journey To The Centre, which explored multiple examples of functional centralisation reducing the importance of London. Which just goes to show - when it comes to fashion, London is more than holding its own.

James McGibney, Associate Partner

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