Tina Brown, who edits Newsweek and The Daily Beast, announced this morning that the nearly 80-year-old weekly newsmagazine will go all-digital. The December 31 edition will be the last one in print. Its online successor, to be called Newsweek Global, will offer a single, subscription-based international edition designed for e-readers, tablets and the Web and targeted to opinion leaders. Even so, Brown and Newsweek Daily Beast CEO Baba Shetty say that they “anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the U.S. and internationally.” The execs say that they are “transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it,” adding that they “remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. 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.”
IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller, whose company owns the properties, pretty much said in July that this would happen: He told analysts that the company’s investment in Newsweek and The Daily Beast would be “considerably less” in 2013 following the decision by the family of Sidney Harman to pull back its funding for the joint venture. Although IAC doesn’t breakout financials for Newsweek/Daily Beast, it said that the inclusion of the property in its Q2 results contributed to higher losses for the Media group. IAC took an $18.6M pre-tax non-cash charge to recognize the declining value of its investment in the property.
Newsweek generated $99.4M in ad revenue in the first nine months of 2012, up 5.4% vs the same period last year — but down from $114.3M in the same nine months in 2010 — according to Publishers Information Bureau data. The print magazine also had a circulation of 1.5M as of June, down from 3.1M in 2007.