Newsweek is ending its print edition
Newsweekly will transition to digital-only at year's end
October 19, 2012
Ever since Newsweek merged with The Daily Beast more than a year and a half ago, the print publication has been on deathwatch.
Now it’s finally expired.
The print edition is ending on Dec. 31, Newsweek and Daily Beast announced this morning, with the magazine transitioning to an all-digital format next year.
The move comes several months after IAC chairman Barry Diller, whose company owns Newsweek and Daily Beast, suggested during an earnings conference call that the print edition would not be around much longer.
Newsweek immediately went into spin mode, insisting that the print edition was not in any imminent danger.
Clearly that wasn’t the case.
The magazine has been struggling for years. The late Sidney Harman bought it for $1 two years ago, and soon after merged with The Daily Beast in an attempt to stop the flow of red ink.
Tina Brown, founding editor of the Beast, became Newsweek’s editor as well, and she tried a number of bold moves, including controversial cover subjects and an overhaul of the editorial departments, to spark interest in the print publication, to little avail.
Newsweeklies generally have struggled since the 2001 recession hit, and the web made the very concept of a weekly news magazine increasingly obsolete.
That’s reflected in the numbers. This year Newsweek was down 9.4 percent in ad pages during third quarter, less than any other magazine in the category.
Competitor Time was down 15.4 percent, The Economist fell12.5 percent, and The Week was off 29.5 percent.
The new digital edition of the magazine will be named Newsweek Global and will be available on tablets, online and e-readers.
In a letter posted on Daily Beast this morning, Brown and Newsweek Daily Beast CEO Baba Shetty, who was hired just last month, said they anticipate some layoffs from the development.
“Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night,” says the note.
“But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future.”
This leaves Time as the last of the Big Three still standing in print. U.S. News and World Report went online-only four years ago.
One of the big questions going forward for Time, Economist and Week is whether they can take advantage of Newsweek’s transition to gain ad pages and circulation.
All four magazines saw newsstand declines during the first half of this year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Tags: ad pages, barry diller, Big Three, daily beast, digital editions, iac, layoffs, magazines, newsweek, newsweek ending print edition, Newsweek Global, newsweek print, newsweeklies, online, print, print edition, print editions, sidney harman, tablets, Tina Brown, U.S.
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