*Why is Gourmet closing?

Or, more to the point, why is Bon Appetit, the other foodie title from Conde Nast, surviving? There's no immediate explanation from the Conde Nast folks, though a tale of the tape shows Bon Appetit - based in L.A., by the way - enjoying a lower drop in ad pages, a larger circulation, and a higher ad rate. Bon Appetit also is a bit more accessible in its presentation and recipe selection, perhaps accounting for the higher circulation. One other point worth noting: The Internet is now overrun with recipes from hundreds of sites, including the catch-all epicurious.com, which handles Gourmet and Bon Appetit. And recipes used to be one of the big draws of both titles - until everyone figured out that by typing in "lamb shanks," you had access to dozens of possibilities. Suddenly, subscribing to the magazines didn't seem all that necessary.

*Condé Nast CEO Charles Townsend told the NYT that Gourmet was being shut down because it loses money. "These businesses should be 25 percent net margin businesses," he said. "We have had some underperformers, but not businesses that have cost us money to run except for launches and businesses like Gourmet that, with the economy, have slipped into the red." The November issue, already printed, will be the last.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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