Condé Nast Dumps Gourmet, Woos Online Dating 13


Last week, publishing giant Condé Nast announced it would be closing four of its magazines – Cookie, Elegant Bride, Modern Bride and the iconic food publication, Gourmet. While the foodies are still wearing all black and mourning the loss of Gourmet, Condé Nast has been hard at work on its next venture – an online dating website.

No, you did not misread that. In the wake of budget cuts, Condé Nast is seeking a new stream of revenue and is courting a new industry. Is Condé Nast off its rocker, or just paying attention?

Despite the dramatic effects of the recession across all types of businesses, online dating has continued to boom, even websites that require a paid subscription. Both eHarmony and have reported increased registration in 2009.

While publishing houses cope with the reality that consumers would rather read content online, on their mobile phones and/or their e-readers, perhaps it makes sense for Condé Nast to explore a business venture that lends itself to the new, technology savvy consumer.

With that in mind, was launched under the Condé Nast umbrella. According to Melissa Noble of, “ is Condé Nast’s official online dating site and what separates it from, say,, eHarmony or OkCupid? Everyone is just mah-valously dressed, dahling.”

The site brands itself as recommended by GQ and Glamour, two of Condé Nast’s leading publications. Will this endorsement help keep the magazines afloat?

It’s possible, according to Media Bistro writer Amanda Ernst. In a recent interview she conducted with Caroline Little, the North American CEO of Guaridan News & Media (U.K.), Ernst reports, “We asked what we always ask very powerful media people: can digital advertising replace what we’ve lost in print ads? Little’s response was a resounding no. She said print publications were going to have to look for alternate streams of revenue, and she specifically pointed to a dating service that the Guardian operates in the U.K. called Soulmates. “You could use that in local markets,” Little said of U.S. publications. Looks like Condé Nast is well on its way to taking that advice.”

While recent struggles may have sent Condé Nast into fight or flight mode, it seems the publishing company may have latched onto a promising, new, business opportunity.

What do you think? Can Condé Nast succeed in matching the Glamour girls with the GQ boys? More importantly, can they profit from this new venture, and profit enough to keep their existing print publications on newsstands?

Disclosure: eHarmony is a client of Racepoint Group.

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