ink-stained wretches

Observer: Gourmet Was a Bad Business

In John Koblin’s postmortem of Condé Nast’s magazine bloodbath on Monday, he reports that the reason for Gourmet magazine’s demise, as opposed to the less prestigious Bon Appétit, was straightforward: It wasn’t a good business. The former magazine sought out higher-end ads — the type that have been drying up over the past year. The latter had a higher circulation and lower rates, and as a result was still making money.

As The Observer reported a few weeks ago, McKinsey consultants were particularly interested in the breakdown between ad and edit pages. Gourmet’s ratio was miserable. Ruth Reichl’s title had only 40 ad pages against 74 editorial pages in September, the issue that is supposed to bring home big numbers (compare that to Vogue, which fell tremendously this past September, yet still had 427 ad pages versus 157 editorial pages in September).

Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend told Koblin that two to four more magazines will reduce their frequency in the coming weeks, and that there will be further layoffs, but nothing near the 180 heads that rolled on Monday. “This was the big news,” said Mr. Townsend. “I don’t think it will be substantially more. It’ll be a trickle.” It’s a trickle that has already begun, according to Keith Kelly at the Post. Details publisher Steve DeLuca was given the heave-ho by Townsend, and the magazine will continue for now without someone in that role. Brides publisher Alison Matz was also ousted, when Carolyn Kremins, the publisher of the shuttered Cookie, was moved to her spot.

There’s More to Come at Conde Nast, But How Much? [NYO]

Observer: Gourmet Was a Bad Business