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Condé Nast Fills Out its 'Portfolio'

Lucia Moses

MARCH 05, 2007 -

When Condé Nast formed its business group, it made plans to launch Condé Nast Portfolio at the center, hoping the new title would be to business-to-business ad revenue what Vogue is to fashion advertising.

In a step in that direction, it has signed a multiplatform deal with financial company CIT that includes, in addition to Portfolio, ads in Wired, Golf Digest and The New Yorker.

“Vogue’s presence in fashion helps everyone sell fashion advertising, said David Carey, Portfolio publisher and group president and publishing director, Condé Nast Business Media. “We hope Portfolio, for certain types of b-to-b marketers, will extend to our other businesses as well.”

In his first in-depth interview about Portfolio, Carey revealed other tidbits about the magazine, which is set to hit newsstands April 24 with a rate base of 300,000.

That figure will increase to 350,000 for the second issue in September; it will publish monthly thereafter. Initially, more than 200,000 copies will be sold at newsstand; the rest, through subscriptions. Portfolio has been testing sub prices as low as $12, but Carey said charter subs should average $14 to $15—comparable with the leading biweekly business titles.

Portfolio is aiming for an audience that’s 40 percent female and an ad mix that’s half-and-half endemic business/nonendemic. The first issue will carry more than 300 pages, half of them ad pages. Of the 95 advertisers in the launch issue, 53 are business-to-business, representing financial, technology and corporate branding ads.

Of those, 20 are new to Condé Nast and 10 have done little business with the company in the past, Carey said.

An editorial staff of 100 (print and Web) will produce the magazine; it’s two-thirds of the way through hiring. A companion Web site will be fully launched with the title, with blogs and a variety of content, most of which Carey said would be distinct from the print version.

Several advertisers are capitalizing on the launch to make their own splash. Those include Lexus, running a 10-page insert—the biggest single ad-unit in the issue—to launch a new brand campaign.

Ten still-unnamed advertisers are preparing to fork over $100,000 apiece to run rotating ads taking over the Web site for the first four months after it goes live; they’re also buying print pages. Visa is the sole sponsor of a newsletter previewing the magazine that will be mailed to the first 50,000 subscribers March 5. The company is using the newsletter to promote its new campaign for its selective Signature card.

Jack Hanrahan, U.S. print director, OMD, who has several clients in Portfolio, including Visa, said those marketers are signing on sight unseen because “There’s a great list of advertisers that will be there, and these brands want to be part of that neighborhood.”

Editor-in-chief and former Wall Street Journal vet Joanne Lipman has assembled a cast of A-list journalist talent, including Kurt Eichenwald and Matt Cooper, to write for Portfolio, which describes itself as a cross between The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

Carey said the magazine will become a must-read, carrying well-researched, in-depth articles month after month. Citing as a model James Stewart’s recent New Yorker investigation of Hewlett-Packard, he said, “That’s where we believe the opportunity lies.”

The launch comes at a time when business news is experiencing a revival, despite flat or declining ad pages and circulation for many business magazines. Pages declined 2.7 percent year-to-date through March for the business/technology category, per Mediaweek Monitor. McGraw-Hill’s BusinessWeek and Time Inc.’s Fortune are under new editors, who are gearing up for redesigns, and News Corp. is launching a business news channel.

But at a time when there are few new magazines aimed at business executives, Portfolio is “a breath of fresh air,” says George Janson, print director, Mediaedge:cia, whose Portfolio clients include Chevron and Accenture. He added, though, that it remains to be seen if executives will embrace this type of publication.

“Are they looking for something like Portfolio that blends reading that’s professional and pleasurable? That’s a big question.”


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