Thursday, October 18, 2012

Newsweek to abandon print

Many hoped that Newsweek's fire sale (price - One dollar) two years ago would rejuvenate the troubled news magazine.  Reaction when Tina Brown was named Editor-In-Chief was more mixed.  But three months ago the family of the late Sidney Harman (Newsweek's purchaser) pulled their financial support. At that point most analysts felt that the end was near for what had been a heavily subsidized print edition.
  Then came the announcement yesterday - not in the print magazine, or its online edition, but on The Daily Beast website - that Newsweek would stop publishing a print edition with the Dec. 31 2012 issue. Newsweek execs said they would rebrand the online remnants as Newsweek Global and continue to rely on subscriptions from online readers for revenues.
The new 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," the statement said.

"This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism--that is as powerful as ever," (Tina Brown) wrote in a statement on the Daily Beast website. "It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution."

  Brown is somewhat correct in terms of the economics of print - its certainly more costly than online distribution.  But many print magazines are successful.  The more fundamental problem is on the revenue side - not enough people think the print edition and its content is worth buying to cover the editorial and print distribution costs.  While Newsweek was historically a proud and valuable brand - it's continuing decline and failure in the magazine marketplace suggests that the quality of the brand and its journalism is a major part of the outlet's decline.

Source - Newsweek to End Print EditionWall Street Journal

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