The publication of Geo in the United States was an extraordinary experiment that provided an elegant magazine with a wide range of high-quality articles and photographs over many different subjects. Unfortunately, Geo never developed a large enough audience to sustain its publication and became a very short-lived and very expensive failure.
The German firm Gruner and Jahr began publishing Geo in Germany in 1977. Gruner and Jahr is the parent company of Stern and other successful German magazines and with Geo expanded its base with a high-quality general-interest magazine. Geo filled an empty niche among German magazine readers and became an instant success. German antitrust laws prevented Gruner and Jahr from expanding any further in Germany and the company decided to expand by publishing Geo internationally. The next edition of Geo was published in France and also resulted in a great success. Both of these editions are still being published, with circulation of the German edition at 520,000 and the French edition at 500,000. 1 Gruner and Jahr decided to develop a U.S. edition and intended to publish editions in Japan, Great Britain, and Italy.
Gruner and Jahr entered the American market expecting the same type of instant success as they had had with the German and French editions. Geo was introduced in the United States with a large amount of fanfare and no expense was spared in attempts to lure potential subscribers. Some of the advertising for this new magazine consisted of a six-page four-color bleed spread with reply cards that was placed in Time,* Business Week, and Newsweek* and had an estimated cost of approximately one million dollars. Direct marketing included two gigantic mailings of 3.2 million pieces and 1.6 million pieces with names of potential subscribers selected from many different mailing lists. 2