The Experts Weigh In On Condé Nast Closures

4 times square.jpgIn the day following the news that Condé Nast has decided to shutter four magazines, including Gourmet and Cookie, we reached out to some experts in the field to get their reactions. Here’s what we’ve heard:

“It made sense for a company that had two rival magazines to close one of them. It has been a very competitive year for magazines in the epicurean category, and we have had a lot of success. But Gourmet saw newsstand sales fall by 25 percent.”

–Merri Lee Kingsly, publisher of Gourmet rival Saveur

“Seeing a major media company like Condé Nast blindly shutting down four prominent publications without even trying to first migrate them to digital is a prime example of how out of touch many media companies are. Folding Gourmet, a magazine with over six decades of a strong readership, is the ultimate proof that the management of Condé Nast is very short-sighted when it comes to understanding the opportunities that exist within the digital publishing landscape. This is truly a sad day for magazines. I have this to say to all print publishers: Don’t kill off another publication! We have the opportunity reshape our industry with digital publishing. Major media companies need to have the vision to realize this.”

–Jim Gaines, former editor at Life, Time and People, and current editor-in-chief of digital media company FLYP

“We are in the midst of a cataclysmic change for the magazine business and magazines have become very expensive to produce. There has been a lot of clutter, and although magazines will still exist, only about half are going to survive. It was too much. At one point, there were seven high fashion competitors. Do you need seven high fashion magazines? No. It’s terrible to hear about magazines closing and people losing their jobs, but I’m not surprised. Magazine publishing as a business has been using this same model since the 1940s, and it has been faltering. Journalism is not going out of business, but magazines are going to become a luxury item.”

–Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More magazine and former Condé Nast staffer at Vogue, Glamour and YM

“[Condé Nast CEO] Chuck Townsend already said there’d be no more title cuts. Right now what we’re looking at is either cuts in persons or perks. And I don’t think Condé Nast is ready to give up even more perks. But I am surprised to see Gourmet go, and it makes sense that [Condé] will be keeping it a presence online…because when you think of what people first did on the Internet, it was exchange recipes.”

–Peter Kafka, media reporter for All Things Digital

Earlier: Breaking: Condé Shutters Four Magazines: Cookie, Gourmet, Two Bridal Titles

Related: Confessions Of A Condé Nast Layoff Victim

–Additional reporting by Drew Grant