Conde Nast's Portfolio: Big Investment in Print

You have to admire Conde Nast for this week’s bold and luxurious launch of Portfolio magazine, given the preponderance of evidence suggesting readers and advertisers (especially business readers) are moving online.

The charts in the NY Times article are scary enough: Magazine Publishers of America data show downward slides at Business Week, Fortune and Forbes for ad revenues and ad pages since the turn of the 21st century, with only one meaningful year-over-year improvement as 2004 beat the rock-bottom ad-recession numbers from the 2003 season. Forbes inched up in 2006 by stealing share from the other two, but for the first 3 months of 2007, all three are down again (3-13%). Conde Nast Chairman S. I. Newhouse dismissed rumors of a $100MM commitment over 5 years by saying his commitment is longer and deeper; it’s an indefinite one. So he’s hired an editorial staff with over 75 people on the print edition and another 40 on the website. That’s more than 2 edit staffers for each print advertiser in the launch issue!

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