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Web at heart of Vibe, Portfolio resuscitation

Two magazines that shuttered earlier this year are making comebacks with a digital focus: Vibe, under new ownership, will relaunch in print and online this fall, while Condé Nast’s Portfolio has reopened as a Web-only venture owned by American City Business Journals (ACBJ).

Vibe ceased publishing in late June, when parent company Vibe Media Group abruptly went under and shuttered all print and digital holdings. The magazine and its Web site will be revived by new owner Uptown Media Group, a New York-based luxury publisher that purchased Vibe August 12. Uptown parent company InterMedia Partners, which also owns the Soul Train brand, plans to create multiplatform deals across advertising, events, promotions and subscription sales.

“The goal of the deal was to create an entity that would have a broader appeal to the African-American community,” said a source close to the deal.  

Spring MRI data showed that Vibe readers had a median age of 28.7 and median household income of $41,245. The source added that the new Vibe brand would be more inclusive, focusing on a wide array of music, rather than the hiphop-heavy coverage it had become known for in recent years.

In this new venture, the Web will take center stage, with growth plans centering on Vibe.com and the Vibe Lifestyle Network. Uptown is working now to get Vibe.com up and running again by the end of the month. The magazine, previously a monthly, will begin publishing as a quarterly in November. Its guaranteed circulation has been halved from June levels, to 300,000. New sister magazine Uptown will remain at 200,000 circulation, publishing 6 times a year.

Uptown plans to hire 16 new staff members to run Vibe. No decisions have been made on the publisher or editor in chief positions.

Portfolio, relaunching as a Web-only entity, will be manned largely by reporters from ACBJ’s weekly business newspapers. J. Jennings Moss is the editor of the new Portfolio.com.

The two-year-old Portfolio magazine was shut down after printing its May 2009 issue. It had a rate base of 400,000.

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