Blog Post

Gourmet Live App Puts ‘A La Carte’ Items On The Menu

Nearly four months after hitting the iTunes Store, Condé Nast’s Gourmet Live free iPad app is now selling 99 cent back issues and “special collections,” as the publisher looks to round out the sponsorships that otherwise supports the feature. With today’s update, Gourmet Live has about 10 items for sale within its new store tab.

Three of the for-sale items are the new “collections” that offer several stories based on a particular theme, such as one called “Destinations,” which offers a global culinary cruise aboard the MS Queen Elizabeth. New ones will be added each week. Secondly, the app’s update also has added sharing features for those readers who might not be on Facebook or Twitter.

Although Gourmet magazine was shuttered over a year ago, the idea of reviving it in the form of a free iPad app has allowed the brand to serve as a showcase of how Condé Nast is reimagining the idea of a magazine at a time when tablets represent the best hope for publishers trying to build a stronger digital business amid an uncertain advertising recovery.

Gourmet Live, which uses some content from its previous print-based incarnation, is one of the most high-profile tests of whether magazine publishers can offer something that is both apart and of the web and print. Although some paid magazine apps are selling pretty well — Condé Nast’s Wired has remained a standout — there are some natural reasons some readers might be resistant. For one thing, most magazines still post a lot of the print content on the web for free and the iPad’s Safari browser provides easy access to the web. At the same time, many readers complain about the limited sharing abilities some magazine apps come with, though a significant amount do include sharing functions.

When the app’s editors were planning the second phase, Juliana Stock, Gourmet Live’s GM, said that despite being somewhat early adopters of the iPad, which has only been available for seven months, not everyone who has one is on Facebook or Twitter. Previously, in order to share an item from the app, you had to sign in with an ID that connected you to either of those two social media accounts. Today’s change doesn’t require registering with Facebook or Twitter IDs. “People will still experience the gaming part of the apps,” Stock said. “We see people sharing all the time. But this will make it easier for more people to share.”

With a nod to the kinds of “badge” rewards that are so much a part of check-in services like Foursquare and Get Glue, Gourmet Live’s notices of “checking in” to an article will also appear within the app, not just on outside social media sites.

Going forward, Stock said that Gourmet Live would like to incorporate sharing rewards, which could be used to access additional content within the app.

Other changes within the app are fairly cosmetic, such as the ability to read it in landscape view. The update also solves the slightly vexing issue of not being able to easily get back to where you started within the app. So now, at the top of the screen, users will have a home button, which will also make it simple to find those 99-cent items as well.