Portfolio in trouble

I confess, I've never gotten Portfolio's business model--New York Magazine, for executives!  I rarely read anything vital in it, which means I rarely read it.  And it seems I'm not alone:

The business magazine Portfolio will be published 10 times a year, instead of 12, and Men's Vogue will come out twice a year instead of 10 times, said the executives, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the changes, which have not been announced.

In addition, some of Portfolio's online operations, including advertising sales, will be folded into those of Wired magazine.

Advertising revenue has sharply declined in the magazine industry this year. The luxury product advertising that Condé Nast relies on has held up better than most types, but eventhat has slipped and is expected to fall farther.

Portfolio, started last year amid much fanfare, is Condé Nast's first business magazine and its most expensive new project in years. Executives said the company was willing to lose more than $100 million on it. It had average circulation of 415,000 in the first half of the year, a healthy figure for a new magazine, but it has been roiled by internal disputes and high turnover.

Much of the operation of Men's Vogue, started in 2006, will be folded into Vogue, one of the company's flagship magazines. Men's Vogue has circulation of almost 370,000.

Condé Nast executives said spending had been under budget, with several positions unfilled, which would limit the impact of the 5 percent budget cut.

But the changes at Men's Vogue and Portfolio will result in significant layoffs. Staff cuts at other magazines will mostly be achieved by attrition, though there will some layoffs.


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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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