'Gourmet' a "Burden," 'Bon Appetit' an "800-Pound Gorilla"

In an interview with Advertising Age, Conde Nast's president-CEO, Charles H. Townsend, shed a little light on the demise of Gourmet. The decision to close the magazine while preserving Bon Appetit was, to no one's surprise, a matter of money. Among other things, Townsend told Ad Age that "[i]n the epicurean situation the sentimental favorite might be Gourmet, but the big-business 800-pound gorilla is Bon Appetit." In other words, people want pictures of hamburgers instead of fuzzy quinces.

Furthermore, Townsend says, Gourmet "was operating as a burden. In the middle of this decade it was a profitable business, but having two of those businesses did not help the situation. And the dominant business -- particularly with the consumer -- is Bon Appetit, which emerged as the considerably stronger business." But sentiment versus gorillas aside, Townsend maintains that Bon Ap is not "a mass magazine. It's still a high-end magazine. You look at its demography, its price points, the advertising it carries, you look at everything about it, it's a Conde Nast magazine."

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