Condé Nast's Gourmet Magazine closed shop almost a year ago. Like other legacy newspapers and magazines, print content is slowly becoming a dinosaur right before our very eyes. However, apparently the publishing conglomerate couldn't just let it die - so like a phoenix they are thinking about resurrecting its remains into a flashy social and location-based application- called - what else - "Gourmet Live."
Charles H. TownsendIn October, 2009, CEO Charles H. Townsend was lamenting the closing of four of his magazines, with Gourmet being one its most popular. None of the 180 or so employees of the magazines, including the Gourmet editor in chief, Ruth Reichl were expected to stay with the company, Mr. Townsend said.
Today, according to its press, he's singing a new tune, and it appears the app will not be just a rehash of the old magazine - but an "immersive and interactive content experience (with)…social connectivity (and even) game play." According Townsend, Gourmet Live "brings together branded high-quality content, social and location-based technology, as well as monetization structures new to Condé Nast, like virtual currency, that are typical in digital economies like gaming.
Described as a "new experience on an ever-expanding collection of articles, photos, video… (where) you can earn rewards for your discoveries, here is their demo video, which is a little vague...
The Gourmet Live promo also indicates the app will also utilize social sharing, geo-location and adaptive personalization technology - but gives no further explanation as to how?
With a launch set for fourth quarter 2010, their initial press doesn't go into great detail pertaining to the location-based social networking features, nor the gaming functionality. It simply indicates that the app will be "a clean and intuitive reading experience, (with) real-time processing that delivers curated content based on behaviors, social connections, payment, location and more." But no word as to a deal with Foursquare or any one of the other location-based social networks?
Since at its peak, Gourmet Magazine did amass over 5.5 million readers, it's understandable that Condé Nast could not just let this publication fade into oblivion. Couple that with a new generation of folks who gravitate toward haute cuisine, wines and fine dining, the publication is banking on the application attracting a wide audience.
Combining social media, and quality content, the app according to Robert Sauerberg, Group President, Condé Nast Consumer Marketing will also provide “analytics (that) will allow us to iterate quickly, make changes and modify business models based on consumer usage.” Again, it sounds like a work in progress!
It will be free to download, with registration required, followed by paid content options. It sounds like Condé Nast is banking on the app delivering an ROI from an audience that is already familiar with location-based services and gaming. However, I think Townsend's team might need to go back to the drawing board, to give a little more thought to the process and elaborate a little bit more as to how they will integrate with today's "hot" new technologies?