Condé Nast Portfolio
The launch of Condé Nast Portfolio has single handedly
brought back the faith in new magazine launches from a major
media company that still considers magazine business as its
core business. Thank you S. I. Newhouse Jr., David Carey and
Is Condé Nast Portfolio going to be the last major
magazine launch from a major magazine company in the United
States as some say?
No, but the prophets of doom and gloom are running out of
reasons to promote their print is dead concept.
Every time they see a major launch on the horizon they promote
it as the last, and they start asking the doubting Thomas
questions. This magazine was no different. Its launch was
the most highly anticipated media event of 2007.
It had stunning photography and in depth reporting and analysis.
Think The New Yorker meets Vanity Fair meets Vogue meets The
Wall Street Journal, all trying to captivate you, the reader.
Unlike any other launches that took place in years past,
this one focuses on content and relevance, and not on publishers
Despite that, behind the scenes, when I visited with the
group president and publishing director of Condé Nast
Portfolio David Carey in New York City recently, I saw nothing
but pride, passion and joy in his eyes every time he mentioned
Portfolio, its content, its web site, its editor and staff
and its ad pages.
Given the product, David Carey should be a proud daddy. His
love of new magazines has manifested itself in one healthy
glossy baby named Portfolio.
1. What do you consider the single most important achievement your magazine has accomplished in today's marketplace?
Portfolio has energized a sector of the publishing business that many had thought was moribund. By introducing a print magazine that made sense in the context of how people consume information these days, we've been able to deliver a new experience for readers. Building both the magazine and website simultaneously, we were able to demonstrate that "new media" can be print as well as digital.
2. Looking back, what was the most important hurdle you were able to overcome?
While the launch was intensely covered by the media, we were pleasantly surprised how quickly this new media brand was included in the small collection of mainstream business media. Just a few months into its existence, CNP quickly joined a short list of publications founded a long time ago. Add cultural reference pints like a quote on "Meet the Press" and we felt we weren't just the new kid on the block, but part of the club.
3. What was the biggest pleasant surprise?
Given how fast business moves, some people at first couldn't understand how a monthly magazine would work. But by collecting a diverse portfolio of stories each month, we've been able to demonstrate that deeply reported narrative journalism with big picture perspective has the ability to put today's and tomorrow's headlines into context.
4. What is the biggest challenge you are facing today?
While we did little to generate it, we benefited from a tremendous amount of media attention as one of the most high profile new launches in years. And that has helped us build great momentum with both advertisers and readers. Maintaining that excitement as the magazine matures and establishing the unique benefits of the product in the marketplace will be our biggest challenge in the coming year.
5. Imagine you have a magic wand and you can strike the magazine and make it
human? Describe that human being.
The embodiment of CNP would be a forward-thinking entrepreneur. The type of executive who might build a great brand from the ground up, take it public and then start all over in an entirely different industry. A man or woman who enjoys the intellectual challenge of business and who also savors the game of it.
6. The number of new magazine launches has been on a steady increase. What
advice do you have to someone wanting to start a new magazine?
Do your homework and stay close to both your readers and advertisers. When we set out to develop CNP, we had a clear idea of the opportunity. But we invited both potential advertising partners and readers into the process. Intensive focus groups and research both pre-publication and between our first two issues yielded vital feedback that proved integral in shaping the product you see today.
7. Finish this sentence: In 2011 your magazine will be...
Continuing to explore the business stories of today. By then the technology may have evolved a bit since our launch and some yet-to-be-formulated brands may be shaping the economic conversation, but CNP will be delving deeply into the people and phenomena driving business.