Why Did Conde Nast Close Gourmet?

After a grim reaperish review by McKinsey consultants revealed that Conde Nast would have to cut up to 25 percent of its budget, the magazine company announced today that it will close four magazines: Gourmet, Cookie, Elegant Bride and Modern Bride. Most of the jaw-dropping online seems to be focused on Gourmet, an established name in the food journalism industry that has been publishing for more than 60 years. Why Conde, why?


From the internal Conde memo:

Gourmet magazine will cease monthly publication, but we will remain committed to the brand, retaining Gourmet's book publishing and television programming, and Gourmet recipes on Epicurious.com. We will concentrate our publishing activities in the epicurean category on Bon Appétit.

Well there it is. Two foodie magazines in one struggling industry was one magazine too many. Competing for the same advertisers and the same readers, it made sense to kill one to save the other. And in the downturn, Gourmet simply wasn't keeping. In the first quarter of this year, Gourmet and Bon Appetit saw ad pages decline 42% and 26%, respectively, according to Gawker. Gourmet's circulation was smaller (950K to 1.3M) and its top ad rate lower ($98K to $113K). But in March Conde pres Chuck Townsend said:

"Gourmet and B. A. are two completely different magazines, both in their editorial point of view and in their audiences," Mr. Townsend said through a spokeswoman. "Both are circulation powerhouses, and I'm perfectly content with both properties as businesses."

What a difference McKinsey makes.

For more, read Corby Kummer's half-eulogy, half-plea for Gourmet on the Food Channel.

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis. The only problem? He has to prove it works.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Business

Just In