Award-winning foodie title Saveur is going all-digital under its new private equity owner 27 years after launching to critical acclaim.
The food and recipe title was sold in October by Bonnier to North Equity as part of a package of magazines, including Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Popular Science.
North Equity has been buying up distressed print titles, often converting them to all-digital platforms. It also recently purchased decorating mag Domino and also owns bobvila.com.
The private equity firm also sold Saveur’s subscription list to Meredith for an undisclosed amount.
“Per the terms, Saveur’s subscribers will be receiving Food & Wine or Magnolia Journal,” said a North Equity spokeswoman. She said there were no layoffs associated with the latest move.
That may be because staffers were laid off leading up to the acquisition. Sarah Gray Miller, who was editor-in-chief at the time of the sale, said her last day on the job was Nov. 13, or roughly five weeks after the Oct. 6 sale agreement was announced.
“I worked for Bonnier only, never North Equity,” she said.
Bonnier, a privately owned European publishing giant, had been on a mission at the time to exit its US holdings, although it later reversed course and decided to hang onto its US boating titles.
Saveur was founded by S. Christopher Meigher, a one-time top executive at Time Inc. who had hatched the then-groundbreaking idea of relying more on subscription revenue from dedicated readers rather than on ad revenue, which had long been the custom for most magazines.
In 1997, within three years of the magazine’s launch, editor Dorothy Kalins snagged a National Magazine Award.
Meigher, who currently runs Quest Media, said the magazine was throwing off positive cash flow 20 months after its launch.
Some of that, he said, had to due with the mag’s former publisher Joe Armstrong positioning Saveur into a luxury magazine, which resulted in “high end blue chip advertisers flocked to our pages.”
“Pretty remarkable back then, and almost 50 percent of the revenue came from the readers/subscriptions,” Meigher said. “With such strong support you have to ask: why can’t Saveur exist in print, as so many well focused and targeted print titles still do?”
He blamed subsequent owners who curtailed the mag’s test kitchen and cut travel by writers to the far corners of the globe.
“The magazine has been diluted in quality and image by subsequent owners who didn’t embrace its original (and profitable!) mission, but its demise in print is as unnecessary as it is unwarranted,” said Meigher.
Saveur’s current editorial operations are managed by Executive Editor Kat Craddock, Digital Director Erin Scottberg and General Manager Tracy Cho,” said a North Equity spokeswoman. “We are in the process of growing our team of contributors and editors that will allow us to expand our coverage.”
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