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After much speculation over which magazines would fall victim to the budget slashes at Condé Nast, the media giant announced this morning that it would be folding Gourmet, Cookie, and both Elegant Bride and Modern Bride.
The magazine shuttering seemed inevitable. Condé Nast underwent staffing cuts last year and saw huge decreases in ad revenue, with September’s ad pages down between 17 percent and 47 percent depending on the magazine. Still, Gourmet — a staple to housewives (and, yes, chefs and foodies, too) since 1940 — comes as a shock to those who thought they wouldn’t close such a famous title. And left only with Brides Magazine in the Condé Nast stable, the average 25-year-old sporting a diamond engagement ring will be left to grapple with the fact that she is neither modern nor elegant. Cookie magazine’s closure came as less of a shock: although the parenting magazines ad revenue was up last year, it’s not exactly one of Condé’s most well-known ventures.
The announcement magazines has caused quite a stir on the web. Gourmet, Condé Nast, Elegant Bride and Cookie are all top trending topics on Twitter. Even the typically glib blog Gawker (and it’s even more snarky commenters), which held a Condé Nast magazine death poll last week, sounded slightly mournful at the announcement. Apparently new media does still have a soft spot for its great grandmother, the magazine.
In an internal memo, Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend wrote:
Condé Nast’s success comes from the ability of our publications to attract readers with a wide range of interests, as well as advertisers who value them. But in this economic climate it is important to narrow our focus to titles with the greatest prospects for long-term growth.”
For the full text, see here.
For now, those seem to be the biggest cuts the company will be making and Wired seems safe for now. While its sad to hear of the closure of Gourmet, I must admit I haven’t opened that magazine except to flip through at the doctors office. Mostly, I find my recipes on epicurious.com, which will continue to feature Gourmet’s recipes. And as long as The New Yorker is safe, I’m happy.
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