Newsweek Magazine issued a bombshell announcement this morning, with editor-in-chief Tina Brown writing that the historic magazine, which was launched in 1933, will be transitioning to an all-digital format in the coming months. The final print issue of Newsweek is slated for release on December 31, 2012.
The shocking proclamation comes after years of financial strife for the magazine. As a result of these ongoing troubles, The Washington Post company sold Newsweek in 2010 and, that same year, the outlet merged with The Daily Beast.
Photo Credit: Newsweek
Rather than focusing upon these past blunders, Brown used the announcement as a vehicle to highlight the framework for Newsweek’s future — an expansion of the outlet’s “rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.”
Here’s how Brown framed these events that unfolded over the past few years:
Four years ago we launched The Daily Beast. Two years later, we merged our business with the iconic Newsweek magazine—which The Washington Post Company had sold to Dr. Sidney Harman. Since the merger, both The Daily Beast and Newsweek have continued to post and publish distinctive journalism and have demonstrated explosive online growth in the process. The Daily Beast now attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, a 70 percent increase in the past year alone—a healthy portion of this traffic generated each week by Newsweek’s strong original journalism.
At the same time, our business has been increasingly affected by the challenging print advertising environment, while Newsweek’s online and e-reader content has built a rapidly growing audience through the Apple, Kindle, Zinio and Nook stores as well as on The Daily Beast. Tablet-use has grown rapidly among our readers and with it the opportunity to sustain editorial excellence through swift, easy digital distribution—a superb global platform for our award-winning journalism. By year’s end, tablet users in the United States alone are expected to exceed 70 million, up from 13 million just two years ago.
The company’s new name will be Newsweek Global and it will be published as a single, global edition that is targeted at those using mobile devices and at opinion leaders who want to stay in tune with world events. Keeping in line with the model that Newsweek employed to bring in print revenue, users will access the condensed outlet on a paid subscription basis through e-readers and the Internet; select content will still be published on The Daily Beast.
Tina Brown (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Brown notes that Newsweek feels it is the appropriate time to move to an all-digital model. While this option, in her estimate, wouldn’t have been possible just two years ago, today, she claims that news consumption has reached a “tipping point.” Potentially recognizing, though, that this announcement will create some angst among those loyal to Newsweek, Brown made it clear about the company’s intentions: “We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it.”
At the end of her announcement, the editor-in-chief did note that “staff reductions” and “streamlining” are on the table, as Newsweek Global prepares for its 2013 emergence. The changes are poised to take effect as the outlet celebrates its 80th anniversary next year.