At some point within the next 12 months, Net-a-Porter will launch a magazine that lives on real paper, not on an Internet platform.

The online retailer's CEO Mark Sebba pooh-poohed the notion that print operations are decreasing in relevance when he announced plans for the magazine at a recent business leadership conference.

"Traditional publishers always say that we are lucky for being born in a digital age and don't have a legacy of print," he said. "But we still see it as important."


Not only is it important, Sebba said, but it's also been a part of the way Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet (who worked at WWD and Tatler before she got into retail) envisioned the business when she started it. Content — like the site's weekly magazine, mobile apps, and video channel — has allowed Net-a-Porter to sell advertising space to the very brands it sells. And that advertising is what will keep a print product alive.

"Twelve years ago when Natalie launched Net-a-Porter, it wasn't so much about revolutionizing shopping as revolutionizing the magazine industry. It's about understanding the media side of commerce rather than just trying to move products. I don't want to denigrate [the retail] side in any way as it pays the rent, but advertising revenue increasingly pays the rent as well."

Sebba did not say how often the magazine would be published or give any other details about the project. Requests to Net-a-Porter for more information were not returned as of this post.

Photo: A spread from Net-a-Porter's online magazine.