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ROME WASN’T BUILT...: Dawn Ostroff is taking her time in assembling Condé Nast’s new entertainment division. Don’t expect any big deals to be unveiled — whether movies, TV shows or anything digital — until the end of this year or early next. Her first step: Hiring a team.
“It all takes time to get up and going,” Ostroff, the president of Condé Nast Entertainment, told WWD on Wednesday night. “It’s the equivalent of starting a magazine from scratch. You have to go out and pick and choose people from other companies and find the best of the best and put them together, so you can imagine how hard that would be.”
Ostroff, nearly five months in the job, said she would bring on about 10 to 12 people and that she’s made just one move so far (she’s brought on a strategic planning person). “It’s going to take some time to get everybody on and it’s going to take some time to get the deals out there,” she said.
Once the team is in place, she expects deals to start “really coming together” in 2013, but she said she’s already heard from interested parties.
“There’s a lot of content in the magazines, needless to say,” she said. “In fact, I’ve had producers come to me talking about articles in The New Yorker and Vanity Fair that they’ve optioned — having nothing to do with us — and now they want to come in and produce the projects with us, which is really fascinating. And some of the projects are as old as 1974. These are articles that have just stayed in people’s mind or were somehow found and optioned on their own and now instead of going outside to produce the films by themselves, they’d love to do it with us or in conjunction with us in some way, which is fabulous.”
Ostroff, the former head of the CW and UPN, was tapped in October by Condé Nast president Bob Sauerberg as part of his initiative to develop new revenue streams. If a movie or TV show is inspired by something originally found in a Condé Nast title, it’s Ostroff’s job to make sure that the publisher is now involved from the get-go (and gets money for it). Ostroff told WWD back in October that it was a “big problem” that Condé Nast did not bring in revenue from past movie or TV projects.
So far, she said she’s made the rounds and met every editor. She was pleased. “The idea of taking their brands and pushing them out on other platforms has been embraced 100 percent, as long as it’s true to the brand,” she said.
Ostroff spoke to WWD at a party she was co-hosting at the Tory Burch store on Madison Avenue to honor Angella Nazarian (a good friend of Ostroff’s) and her new book, “Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World” (Assouline).