Shopping Mag Boomlet: See Ya!

Posted by: Jon Fine on March 28, 2006

Conde Nast kills men’s shopping title Cargo, or, as we liked to call it, Boy Lucky.

Shopping magazines were, until now, one of the next-great magazine categories, alongside the ubiquitous celeb weekly (thank you, Us Weekly) and the affluent psychospiritual version of a traditional women’s service magazine (hello, O, The Oprah Magazine and Real Simple).

Just last fall there were seven major consumer shopping magazines: Lucky, Hearst’s Shop Etc., Cargo, Fairchild’s Vitals Man and Vitals Woman, Ziff Davis gadgety Sync, and Conde Nast’s shelter shopper Domino.

Today, there are three: Lucky, Shop Etc., and Domino.

Around a year ago I interviewed Conde Nast’s CEO Chuck Townsend. At one point I asked if he thought more magazines could be launched as shopping magazines—say, a Lucky-esque take on a travel magazine. He said that “there is not another category” that was an obvious next-step for the subgenre. But the words don’t quite get at his body language when he said this. (“Blanching” doesn’t quite capture it, either.)

I didn’t understand then why he reacted to that question like that. But after yesterday’s news—as well as the news of the past few months in which Sync and both Vitals were shuttered—I think I do now.

Reader Comments

Oliver Willis

March 28, 2006 7:15 PM

Everyone always seems to forget Complex, which was around before Cargo (and better targeted at regular guys vs "metrosexuals" in my opinion) and seems to now outlive it.

Jon Fine

March 28, 2006 7:40 PM

I read and like Complex (best sneaker coverage in a mainstream mag by far) but it always struck me as being less-than-a-pure-play in the shopping mag space.

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The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.

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