In its first 18 months in existence, Vogue Business has attracted 340,000 readers in the fashion, luxury and beauty industries across 50 countries. The Conde Nast-owned business-to-business publication announced it is going to leverage the popularity of its content by adding a membership program to offer readers additional benefits. Vogue Business will offer three membership plans, including one for individuals, one for individuals and teams, and a custom option for companies. Members who sign up will receive free access to the Advanced Membership plan until November 2, 2020.
In their official announcement on September 1, Vogue Business editors wrote, “Vogue Business is excited to launch its membership program today, designed to elevate our unique offering of global, data-led, authoritative reporting to help fashion professionals thrive in a dynamic and fast-changing industry landscape.”
Why a membership program
In an August 18 column, Vogue Business editors outlined the reasons for launching a membership program.
“We launched Vogue Business 18 months ago after speaking extensively to all of you. You told us you wanted more than simply news. You wanted deeper insights into the biggest issues from trusted and authoritative sources and data-led reporting that offers a truly global perspective. You told us you want us to help you develop and grow your brands, to make better business decisions and be a step ahead in your depth of understanding of the fashion and luxury industry. For 18 months, we have been testing and refining our coverage, and now with membership, we can realize our ambition to deliver the most globally authoritative and balanced industry insights.”
The membership program includes the magazine’s Technology Edit and Sustainability Edit newsletters which are distributed twice a week. In the Sustainability Edit newsletter, Vogue Business has written about how brands needed to respond to COVID-19, how fashion impacts biodiversity, brand transparency and fashion waste. In the Technology Edit newsletter, innovation editor Maghan McDowell has interviewed tech leaders form Snap Inc., Google, Amazon and YouTube. She has also written about social distance selling, digital fashion weeks and diversity blind spots.
“Our purpose is to give our readers impartial, data-backed, global insight, advice and inspiration,” Vogue Business said.
Getting down to the details, the membership is payable annually and Vogue Business accepts standard debit and credit cards in U.S. dollars, British pounds and Euros. Pricing noted above is equivalent based on local currency of the subscriber. Memberships are automatically renewable based on the current price at the time of renewal. Vogue Business will send out reminders 30 days prior to renewal. Members are free to cancel at any time, but refunds will not be given. However, if a new member cancels their membership within 14 days of signing up or renewing, they can get a full refund for the current period. Members can learn more on the FAQs page.
While Vogue Business did not explicitly use the word paywall, if members get unlimited access to content, it is presumed that other visitors to the website will have a limitation on the number of articles they can read. We don’t know what the article limit will be or when that change will go into effect.
More magazines are going the paywall route, finding that other types of revenue (e.g., advertising, events, sponsorship, affiliate) is simply not enough. That is particularly true in a time where advertising dollars are hard to come by and live events are on hold, for the most part. With an established audience, Vogue Business has already proven its worth to its target market. The question is how many will be willing to pay for content they’ve been getting for free.