Conde Nast's Portfolio's Deep Pockets

According to Carey, response from advertisers has been "very strong" -- the launch issue has 150 advertising pages. "They get it entirely," he says of his clients. "They are in love with the idea of a longer-shelf-life business publication."

Lucia Moses, senior editor at MediaWeek, says that the advertising community is "hungry for a fresh, new approach in a category that has become tired and fusty."

Still, some of the success Carey boasts of is, she believes, also a result of advertisers wanting to be in the buzzed launch issue. The ultimate question, says Moses, is "Will people want to read in-depth business and lifestyle stories in their free time?"

Anatomy of A Lucrative Launch

In the 20 months since Condé Nast Chairman Si Newhouse and Editorial Director Thomas J. Wallace announced their plans for the new title, the company has been on a poaching spree, collecting A-list journalists for the magazine the way oenophiles collect bottles of Chateau Lafite, beginning with Editor in Chief Joanne Lipman, the former deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and editor in chief of Weekend Journal. A reported 75 people have followed from such places as The New York Times, Time, Vanity Fair and Wired.

While the staff has sequestered itself in Condé Nast's New York headquarters during this incubation phase, gossip about spending, staff infighting and the title's chances for success in a digital world have proliferated on the Web and in publishing circles.

One question that has confused media commentators like Mediabistro's Stableford is the delay between the May launch issue, which begins its rollout Monday, and those that will follow when the magazine goes monthly in September.

"If you're spending so much and you've taken so long on it, you'd think you'd be concurrently putting together the second and third issues to sustain the buzz," he says. "You want to come out firing on all cylinders."

Carey assures that this is a deliberate strategy.

"If you launch a monthly out of the gates, your second issue will already be printed. … This way, we'll learn from the newsstand sales, and we can change our distribution accordingly," he explains. "But ultimately, this is a creative entity and the gap lets it breathe. It gives us a chance to work out which sections work and which may not be working so well."

Carey also refutes the speculation that Portfolio's multimillion dollar launch in the time of digital is the last of its kind.

"That is not possible," he says. "I'm not saying that the business doesn't have certain challenges, but this is not the last launch. That's like saying there won't be another cable network. Go tell that to Rupert Murdoch.

"We look at the industry and see that the glass is half full. We like magazines. We'll launch more magazines."

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