Domino Falls, and Shelter Magazines Run for Cover
Outcry over closing of CondĂ© Nast title.
The announcement by CondĂ© Nast that it is shutting down Domino, its four-year-old shelter title, while not surprising, given the magazine advertising climate, hit harder than most. (On the day the news broke, I got more IMsâmany including sad emoticonsâthan I have for other magazine closings.)
I have an odd, emotional attachment to Domino. Perhaps itâs because their launch partyâa swanky, $500,000 bash held in Lower Manhattanâwas one of the first magazine launch parties I ever attended.
(It could also be that I have somewhat of an interior design fetish, and sometimes fantasize about becoming an interior designerâwith all the requisite antler-based light fixtures.)
Obviously, Iâm not alone. The outcry in the blogodome was fast and furious:
Fans of the girlish, how-to decorating magazine owned by CondĂ© Nast were vociferous in their disappointment, posting anguished comments on design sites like Apartment Therapy, Decorno and Design Sponge (which accrued 498 remarks in just a few hours), as well as nondesign sites, like The Huffington Post. Even Gawker readers set aside their snark to mourn. ... The commenters bemoaned the death of a magazine that âfeltâ like them, and worried that their Domino subscription renewals, already paid, would yield subscriptions to Architectural Digest, CondĂ© Nastâs remaining shelter title (median reader age: 50).
In terms of a business, though, the magazine just wasnât working for CondĂ© Nast.
Which I admit, working for a b-to-b magazine, is hard to fathom, considering its estimatedâthough surely inflatedâad revenue was up 24.3 percent to $60 million in 2008, and ad pages (down 4.1 percent) fared better than the industry average. (I mean, how can you not figure out a way to be a viable business with $60 million in ad revenue?)
Not only that, the magazine was overdelivering on its rate base by about 200,000 copiesâdue mainly to taking over House & Gardenâs subscriptions after CondĂ© Nast decided to fold the 106-year-old title.
I guess in the end, with a name like Domino, it was sure to fall.
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