TheGrill 2015: Conde Nast’s Dawn Ostroff on Making Digital ‘Frenemies,’ Chasing Ad Dollars (Video)

“There’s a big pot, but we all need each other,” Entertainment division president says at TheWrap’s sixth annual media leadership conference

Last Updated: October 7, 2015 @ 8:57 AM

Condé Nast Entertainment president Dawn Ostroff knows precisely the elite position her brand occupies in the entertainment space — but she’s not into mean-girl politics when it comes to competitors.

As her portfolio of titles — with heavy hitters like Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ and Architectural Digest — goes beyond print and populates a universe of premium digital video and cable partnerships, she advocates a more communal approach among similar programmers chasing ad dollars.

“Your content in digital video has the chance to go out in a spectrum of broad distribution,” Ostroff said on stage at TheGrill 2015, TheWrap’s sixth annual media leadership conference.”

Condé’s own digital network The Scene, for instance, features content from Buzzfeed, but Ostroff admits, “We compete in ad sales. Vice could be considered competition, but we’re talking about doing stuff together.”

When asked by moderator and CNBC anchor Julia Boorstin about “frenemies” in the space, Ostroff said the digital universe is “a much more collegial group. There’s a big pot; everyone is competitive in the industry, but we all need each other.” 

So how big is the pot? Ostroff compares current ad spending to the early days of basic cable. In their first five years, she said cable and digital video took 1.6 and 1.5 percent of the advertising marketplace, respectively. For years six through 10, cable took 2.4 and digital garnered a whopping 4.8 percent of the ads.

By 2019, Ostroff estimates, digital video advertising will be a $14.5 billion business.

As far as her piece of the pie is concerned, The Scene and other endeavors from Condé Nast Entertainment will generate 2.5 billion views from 3,000 pieces of original content — one of which, a docu-drama series about relationships called “The And,” just won an Emmy.

“One of the things our company has been able to do is have access to have situations, access to celebrities, to worlds that are very hard to go behind the curtain to peek,” Ostroff said.

It’s nice to have friends, and equally nice to be Condé Nast.

Read TheWrap’s complete coverage of The Grill 2015.