Cond Nast Pulls The Plug On Portfolio; Roughly 80 Jobs Lost; Website's Survival A Slim Possibility

This story was written by David Kaplan.
Update: While Portfolio is certainly done as a print vehicle, and most of the 80-plus staffers will be out of work, there is some speculation within Cond Nast that the Portfolio.com might be given a chance at a second life. But sources say that's still very slight. As for the staffers, there are an unspecified few who will be transferred to other posts within the company, but no decisions have been made there either, sources told paidContent.

Original post: Cond Nast has decided to shutter Portfolio after two years of struggle. The magazine reports on its own demise here, as does NYT. Portfolio.com blogger Jeff Bercovici writes that editor in chief Joanne Lipman told staffers this morning that the decision had been made "because of financial reasons at Advance," Cond Nast's parent company. "It's not anything that the company wanted to do." She said she was informed by Cond Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. of the decision this morning.

David Carey, Cond Nast's group president and publishing director, told the NYT: "The five main categories of advertising a publication like ours depends on are really in trouble."

Portfolio's survival was wholly dependent on the condition of Newhouse and his ability to extend his largesse in support of the troubled business pub. It turns out that largesse was more limited than the magazine's publisher had been led to believe. Two weeks ago, I spoke to publisher William Li, who was brought in to Portfolio earlier this year, and he stated emphatically that the publication was being given support to make some new hires and other changes to help it get through the downturn. He added that the magazine was in the process of expanding into science, health, tech as a way to bring in more advertisers.

The "Portfolio deathwatch" was heightened two weeks ago when the Publishers Information Bureau released its Q1 ad page results, which showed that Portfolio experiencing a 60 percent drop in ad pages, which the mag's reps partially attributed to the reduction in publishing frequency by two months. Still, Portfolio.com's traffic continued to decline as well, as *comScore* said uniques fell 20 percent year-over-year in March to 579,000 visitors.


By David Kaplan
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