Newsweek to go to all-digital format

Agence France-Presse
Venerable US magazine Newsweek announces that its last print edition would be December 31, saying its format would be all-digital going forward

FAREWELL PRINT EDITION. Screen grab of a Newsweek cover from March 2011

(UPDATED) WASHINGTON, USA – Newsweek announced Thursday, October 18 it would end an 80-year run as a print magazine at the end of the year, taking the venerable publication all-digital to cope with a harsh media environment.

“We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it,” wrote Tina Brown, editor-in-chief and founder of the online Newsweek Daily Beast Company, in a statement posted on the Daily Beast website.

“This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”

Newsweek, which had a fierce decades-long rivalry with Time magazine, has been losing money steadily.

Brown acknowledged the merger of the print edition and the online Daily Beast operations, called “Newsweek Global,” would require layoffs.

“Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the United States and internationally,” she said in a memo to staff.

She said the all-digital publication “will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.”

It will be available on the web and on tablets via a paid subscription, with “select content” available on The Daily Beast website.

The company operating the magazine had indicated in July the move to all-digital was likely.

Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive at the conglomerate IAC, said his firm was looking at options now that its partner in the Newsweek/Daily Beast operation has pulled out.

Diller indicated recently that Newsweek was losing money, but the IAC conglomerate did not break out details.

The Washington Post sold Newsweek to California billionaire Sidney Harman for one dollar in 2010, ahead of a deal with IAC to merge the magazine with the online operation to become known familiarly as “Newsbeast.”

After Harman’s death in 2011, his family ended its financial contributions.

Like other US magazines and newspapers, Newsweek has been grappling with a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.

Circulation has fallen from more than four million a decade ago to around 1.5 million last year.

Newsweek is owned by IAC, whose assets include Match.comAsk.com, CollegeHumor, and CityGrid Media, among “one of the world’s largest families of websites.” It recently acquired About.com from the New York Times Co. – Agence France-Presse

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