PR practitioners unaffected by 'Portfolio' shuttering

Some consumers might miss the in-depth features and eye-catching photography of recently killed business monthly Conde Nast Portfolio. But PR pros, and their clients seeking media placement, aren't sobbing over the loss.

Some consumers might miss the in-depth features and eye-catching photography of recently killed business monthly Conde Nast Portfolio. Others might find it hard to do without Portfolio.com's notable columnists and bloggers, such as Matthew Cooper and Howell Raines. But PR pros, and their clients seeking media placement, aren't sobbing over the loss.

The foremost reason for that lack of sentimentality is that the magazine, created in the vein of sister publications Vogue and Vanity Fair as a glossy publication aimed at a well-heeled audience, never established itself during its two-year run.

“They really weren't around long enough. It takes a long time to create a lasting impact, and we were just getting to know each other,” says Michele Clark, MD of Brainerd Communicators, referring to the relationship between the magazine and consumers. “There is not one singular opportunity that no longer exists now because they're gone.”

Charles Townsend, CEO at Conde Nast, blamed the economy for the shuttering in a statement, citing “the pressures and realities of the continuous deep economic slump.”

“In all candor, Portfolio was a great magazine, but there weren't that many issues of it. It didn't have that long of a run and it never got the kind of momentum where you would have a client say, ‘It's got to be in Portfolio,'” adds Bud Grebey, SVP of consumer marketing and corporate communications and GM of Waggener Edstrom's New York office. “If [a client] got in, that's great, but it wasn't top of mind like [it] got the Holy Grail.”

Complicating Portfolio's appeal as a placement destination was its format, which showcased long-form and long-lead journalism, as well as more artistic-oriented covers. In fact, roughly half of its two years of issues carried an art cover, rather than a shot of a top CEO. And when the financial world was looking for minute-by-minute updates on the latest business happenings, the magazine featured Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on its cover, six months after last year's presidential election – a move that has been widely criticized in the media.

Combined with the magazine's relative adolescence, these factors did not endear Portfolio to clients looking for placement, says Peter Marino, president of Dig Communications.

“Number one, anytime you have a new kid on the block, it's going to take that kid a lot of time to get rooted and cemented in terms of its importance. People always factor the known quantity over a new entrant,” he says. “Number two, I very rarely had clients come to me and say, ‘We're hoping for a long-form journalism piece that goes deep into a topic.'”

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