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NUMBERS, PLEASE: Portfolio has published six issues since its debut in April, but so far, the jury remains out on whether consumers are reading the Condé Nast business title. Sources close to the magazine and with access to circulation figures say the title has collected around 300,000 subscriptions and, on average, sold 85,000 newsstand copies an issue. They also estimate Portfolio’s single-copy sell-through percentage is between 15 and 18 percent (a Portfolio spokeswoman declined to comment on the numbers). The magazine has attempted to pop at newsstand by using more abstract cover images, but in recent issues has moved toward a single image — the January cover was the first to feature a close-up of a human.
A new magazine’s sell through percentage is naturally lower than that of an established title, since most publishers tend to blanket newsstands with issues for maximum visibility while assessing where the magazine sells best. John Harrington, editor of magazine industry newsletter The New Single Copy, believed Condé Nast would be satisfied if Portfolio’s sell-through were in the mid-20 percent range. As a new title matures, a successful one should increase that number to around the 30 percent range or higher. “Fifteen percent certainly wouldn’t make them happy,” said Harrington.
Portfolio’s circulation, as with most business magazines, is based largely on subscriptions, so its newsstand performance is not the only judge of the magazine’s circulation strength. “It’s somewhere in between a business and a men’s or lifestyle magazine, in terms of how they’re positioning it. So it’s a little harder to judge than normal,” added Harrington. “Because it’s a unique editorial package, I would think the company would be prepared to give it more time and would not apply normal expectations to it.”
It may be too early to tell if Portfolio will meets its circulation targets — or what those targets could be for the future — but publisher David Carey already has his advertising goals in place for 2008. After posting 655 ad pages for all of 2007, the goal is to snag 900 pages this year, when Portfolio will publish 12 issues. Of course, Carey has more on his mind now than Portfolio — on Monday he was given responsibility of Wired Media and The Golf Digest Publications, which previously reported to outgoing group president Mitchell Fox. — Stephanie D. Smith
OVER THE HILL: MTV apparently will be looking for another magazine partner for its hit series “The Hills” next season. The show’s second season ended with Lauren Conrad and her partner in crime, Teen Vogue intern Whitney Port, going to Paris to assist then-senior editor Kimball Hastings as he covered the Crillon Ball. Port is listed as West Coast fashion contributor and Conrad as intern in Teen Vogue’s March issue, the same one where the Crillon Ball coverage will appear, but, according to a spokeswoman, their presence will cease to exist after that. “The girls have moved on from Teen Vogue,” she said, declining to say whether or not Teen Vogue will be part of the series next time (which probably means it won’t be). The two partners benefited greatly from cross-promotion — Teen Vogue featured both girls on its August 2007 cover, a top seller for the year, and Conrad by herself on its June/July 2006 cover. An MTV spokeswoman did not return calls for comment by press time. — S.D.S.
ASHTON ROCKS OUT: Has Ashton Kutcher been taking fashion tips from the London rock scene? In one of the shots from the actor’s spring campaign for Pepe Jeans London, Kutcher sports a rockabilly quiff and moody pout à la Amy Winehouse, while in another he cuts more of a Pete Doherty figure, wearing a cotton vest and peaked hat. Daria Werbowy is also featured in the ads, but her look seems to have been inspired by Eighties guitar bands instead: She’s been styled with tangled hair and a bandana, wearing a bleached-out, zippered denim miniskirt. The campaign was shot by David Sims in New York and styled by Joe McKenna, under the creative direction of Giovanni Bianco. While Werbowy is signed to Pepe Jeans for spring only, Kutcher will be featured in the Madrid-based brand’s campaigns through the fall.
Kutcher’s edgy campaign for Pepe, which breaks in the March issues of magazines including British Vogue, GQ and Dazed & Confused, marks quite a departure from the brand’s previous Sixties aesthetic. During Sienna Miller’s tenure as the face of the brand, the denim label tended toward soft-focus, black-and-white shots that riffed on Miller’s Edie Sedgwick look. — Nina Jones
BIG MOVES: Could KCD’s Bonnie Morrison be jumping to the other side of the aisle? There’s speculation the well-respected fashion publicist will be joining Men’s Vogue in some capacity. Morrison has been at KCD since April 2006 and worked on accounts including the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Neither Morrison nor a spokeswoman for Men’s Vogue could be reached for comment by press time. — S.D.S.
DOES NOT APPLY: The staff at BusinessWeek is safe, at least for now, from further job cuts. On Tuesday, The McGraw-Hill Cos. Inc. said it would cut 3 percent of its staff, leading some to wonder how that would affect its business title. A source close to the magazine said the 12 or so people that were let go last month, which was reported by WWD, count as part of that 3 percent. Moreover, the decision to lay off BusinessWeek staffers last month “was an action decided during the fourth quarter,” so Tuesday’s announcement by McGraw-Hill will have no further bearing on the magazine. — Amy Wicks