Net-A-Porter has unveiled a new print magazine named Porter as it seeks to build on its reputation as a destination for fashion news and advice, rather than a straightforward ecommerce site.

The idea of brands being publishers is nothing new in the age of content marketing, but it is still uncommon for a pureplay online retailer to launch a global magazine.

However company founder Natalie Massenet said at the magazine’s launch this morning that “Net-A-Porter is a media group, and we love print.”

Porter is due to be published six times a year with 400,000 copies of each edition made available across 60 countries, so it’s clearly a huge investment for the business.

The magazine will be shoppable through the Net-A-Porter app, but as it doesn’t hit shops until tomorrow the app isn’t yet functional. I’ll do a full user test in the near future though.

Net-A-Porter’s investment in content is seen as one of the ways in which it can return to profitability after making a pre-tax loss of £23.2m in the year up to 31 March 2013, which followed a £27m loss the year before. The loss in 2013 came despite the fact that revenues increased by 18% to £434.7m.

Net-A-Porter planned to increase profitability by “enhancing its technology offering and online experience to its customers and by providing compelling content and an authoritative editorial voice on its websites.” Therefore the new magazine is one part of its plan to produce compelling content that attracts customers and increases sales.

Porter will be available at newsstands globally and via Net-A-Porter.com from tomorrow (7 February) and the digital edition will be available to download from 14 February via Apple Newsstand and Google Play.

App promotion

To help promote the magazine, Net-A-Porter created an iOS app called ‘I Am Porter’ which tapped into the craze for selfies.

The app allows users to take a photo of themselves or upload an existing favourite photo, add a cover line and PORTER masthead to transform themselves into a cover star. 

Users are then encouraged to share their photo on Twitter or Instagram, and it has proven to be a success. There have already been more than 1,500 mentions of the #IAMPORTER hashtag in the past seven days alone, according to Topsy.