Portfolio: Suffering Along With the Rest of the Magazine Industry

Cityfile, the Remy Stern brainchild launched last July, which aims to keep track of notable New Yorkers, appears to be getting in on the media futures game, also. In an unsigned “exclusive” post Cityfile looks at some numbers and wonders whether Conde Nast’s business title Portfolio is on the rocks.

Since its debut in 2007, Portfolio has struggled to gain subscribers and advertisers, fired editors and hired new ones, changed its cover strategy, and emerged as the perpetual train wreck that media obsessives can’t get enough of. But now we hear things are worse than ever.

Why suddenly worse now, you ask?

Actually, it looks like Portfolio is merely suffering the same hardships as the rest of the magazine industry, except that the large sums of money its spent on hires, and the fact that the print magazine is in no way capable of keeping up with the Crisis news cycle, combined with dropping ad sales and the fact it is relatively new to the Conde Nast stable, have all combined to make the magazine extra susceptible. Cityfiles source says the magazine is “stale” by the time it hits stands. Also, recent circulation figures aren’t promising.

Recently-released circulation figures show that despite editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman’s decision to put actual human beings on the cover several months ago, just 15 percent of the copies placed on the newsstand during the first half of 2008 actually sold, a figure well below what will be necessary to make the magazine profitable. (The report also indicated that 22 percent of the magazines are distributed for free.)

As for the website it’s apparently still struggling to generate the kind of traffic its competitors enjoy: “it garners just one-tenth the traffic of Forbes.com and is half the size of BusinessWeek.” Tough times all around, as they say, no wonder the “tipster” is feeling gloomy.