R.I.P. Gourmet

Images Last night, we went to a party to celebrate the national launch of Eater.com.  Needless to say, the closing down of Gourmet magazine was talked about.  In jest, of course, we all said it was Eater.com's national launch that put them over the edge.  Of course it wasn't it but in many ways, it was.

As the online world, in new media, such as one off blogs or blogs like Eater or Grub Street have grown in popularity ( eyeballs ) the advertisers have slowly made the shift from spending their entire ad budgets on print to spending more online.  Not only is it less expensive, you can track the eyeballs.  Where print, in many ways, has been a leap of faith based on the supposed demographics and the pass along of a magazine, online is getting better and better at actually knowing who is reading the content and seeing the ads. 

Gourmet is a symbol of an era that is ending.  Beautiful pictures, journalists sent around the globe to cover food, etc.  Gourmet was more of a life style magazine for foodies vs Bon Appetit ( which Conde Nast is keeping ) that is purely about recipes.  Gourmet did one thing that was way before its time, they created a community.  Perhaps a small community and one that did not talk with each other but a community nonetheless.  This community expressed their love for the publication and shared their experiences through letters to the editor and sending in recipes or asking for recipes to be shared from a favorite restaurant and Gourmet provided that forum. 

I will miss my monthly fix of Gourmet showing up in my mailbox.  I love going through my mail and seeing that the next month has arrived not only from Gourmet but from any publication that I get.  Truth is, there is not a publication that comes now that I pretty much already know what they are feeding me because I get so much info on line and generally better info.  Yes, fun to thumb through, but if I was an advertiser I wouldn't give the print people a dime. 

Conde Nast is a company that has been around for a very long time.  They have slowly made a transition into the online world.  The advertisers have pushed them to make some serious financial decisions.  What will be interesting is to watch other media giants, like themselves, make the hard decisions about their businesses going forward.  Jessica spend some time working at Style.com this past year.  Great experience but here is a girl who is of the generation that is completely plugged into the online world and she was aghast at the way information was entered (literally) on so many levels as they attempted make an impact in the online arena without a lot of capital. 

Maybe they didn't want to believe the Internet hype.  That's why the world made 20-30 year old entrepreneurs,  that continue to move us forward.  Unfortunately, Conde Nast was able to move forward in the last century as the family created a media giant but might have hit their Peter Principle. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. chefbikram

    I have read nothing about how Conde Nast will or will not remunerate those subscribers who recently anteed up their subscriptions. My “Cookie” subscription doesn’t expire until 2011! I even tried to figure out whether it was on the chopping block before I renewed having been burned by the closure of Child several years ago. Literally heard it was being shut down the same week I had mailed in my check!! I wonder if publishing companies worry about this — in terms of customer retention on other titles?

    1. Gotham Gal

      That is an excellent question. I wondered the same thing myself.joanne [email protected]

      1. chefbikram

        I’m having a somewhat similar issue with the WSJ. I can’t fathom why they are asking me to pay $395 to renew when I can go to their site and renew for $120. That is not a good way to treat long-time subscribers.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Good question.Just a fyi, when you go online with American Express and reserve a hotel,they charge you for everything in total the minute you hit ok. That meansyou pay in full when you reserve a hotel with AMEX six months in advance.If you go online and reserve the same rooms with your hotel of choice (samehotel as you can on the AMEX site) they just hold the reservation for youuntil 24 hours in advance with no payment. How’s that for customer service?