In the history of US magazine launches, the high point may have been August 1999, when Tina Brown’s Talk magazine debuted.
Jointly owned by Miramax and Hearst Communications, Talk came into the world with an extravagant party in which Hollywood celebrities and former presidents took over the Statue of Liberty.
In spite of a publicity blitz and controversy over some of its celebrity profiles and interviews, the magazine was never a commercial success. It closed in 2001.
These days, new magazine launches – let alone big-budget events – are few and far between.
Ann Moore, chief executive of Time Inc. and known as “the launch queen”, is instead focused on the internet as she tries to generate growth.
Time Inc., the world’s largest magazine publisher, recently pruned 18 titles from its portfolio so that it could focus more resources on its web strategy.
At Hearst, the focus these days is also on new media rather than new titles.
The company recently signed a deal with Fox Television to create video content based on Hearst brands such as CosmoGIRL! and Popular Mechanics.
The idea is to create short “webisodes” to reach readers and advertisers online.
While Portfolio represents a rare print launch, Condé Nast is also eager to emphasise its internet attributes.
The company hired Chris Jones, the former head of programming at Yahoo Finance, to oversee its website, and also brought on board its own crew of bloggers.
“The website is huge. It’s key to the enterprise,” said Joanne Lipman, Portfolio’s editor-in-chief.