Condé Nast's Portfolio is an example of a "great notion," said Jon Fine in BusinessWeek, that didn't look so hot "when exposed to the harsh light of day." The ambitious—and expensive—startup business magazine was shut down on Monday. Readers were never really looking for a magazine like Portfolio. When the recession hit and consumers started shutting their wallets, the magazine's high-end advertisers decided they didn't need it, either.
Don't blame advertisers, said Paul Boutin in The Industry Standard. Portfolio had the right stuff to please readers and ad clients alike—its online Blogonomics posts, for example, were "sharp and sharp-tongued." But magazines are entertainment. "Like a movie, an album, or a novel, sometimes a work that has every reason to be a hit just doesn't catch fire."
"Portolio, a good magazine, shouldn't be viewed as a cautionary tale," said Jon Friedman in Marketwatch. "It was a victim of hype at the outset and the recession in the end." But the bottom line is that the business model of financial magazines doesn't work any more in the digital age—so Portfolio won't be the only one to go out of business.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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