After 79 years in print, Newsweek, one of the best-known newsweeklies in the world, is going digital only as from 31st December.
The decision is indicative of the problems faced by print titles due to the shift in media consumption from print to devices like tablets and mobile phones.
The move was not unexpected given both the macro changes affecting the magazine industry and, more specifically, the comments made in July by Newsweek’s owner Barry Diller, head of IAC/Interactive Corp, about the expense of producing a print magazine.
Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, said of the decision to shelve print, “We started discussing it very fiercely and intensely in June. It’s been in the works a long time, in a sense. And today, we felt ready and absolutely committed to going the course we charted.
“When I returned to print with Newsweek, it did very quickly begin to feel to me (like) an outmoded medium,” Brown continued. “While I still had a great romance for it, nonetheless I feel this is not the right medium anymore to produce journalism.”
Plans calls for the magazine to become a subscription-based digital publication rebranded as Newsweek Global. Its current 1.5 million subscriber base – a decrease of 50 percent from its one-time peak of 3 million – will be given access to the digital edition.
A representative for the company said the cost of the digital-only Newsweek would be on par with current print price. According to the company’s website, Newsweek’s iPad edition costs $24.99 annually and a combined print-iPad yearly subscription costs $39.99.
The transition to digital will result in job cuts, though Brown and Chief Executive Baba Shetty declined to specify how many.