Newsweek is to end its print publication after 80 years and shift to an all-digital format early next year.
Its last US print edition is to be its Dec. 31 issue. The paper version of Newsweek is the latest casualty of a changing world where readers get more of their information from Web sites, tablets and smartphones. It is also an environment in which advertisers are looking for less expensive alternatives online.
Newsweeklies have been in an especially tough spot at a time when people do not want to wait a week to read commentary and news digests of big stories, given a flood of instant content available online.
The announcement of the change was made on Thursday by Tina Brown, editor-in-chief and founder of The Newsweek Daily Beast Co, and Baba Shetty, its chief executive. Job cuts are expected.
“In our judgement, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format,” Brown and Shetty said on The Daily Beast Web site.
Newsweek’s decision does not come as a surprise. Barry Diller, the head of the company that owns Newsweek, announced in July that the publication was examining its future as a weekly print magazine. Diller said then that producing a weekly news magazine in print form was not easy.
Newsweek is not the first to drop its print product. US News & World Report dropped its weekly print edition years ago and now focuses on the Web and special print editions, such as a guide to best graduate schools. SmartMoney announced in June that it was going all-digital.
Brown said staff cuts at Newsweek are expected, but did not give a specific figure. She also said that Newsweek’s editorial and print operations would be streamlined in the US and abroad.
Newsweek has not been doing well for years. Mounting losses prompted The Washington Post Co in 2010 to sell Newsweek for US$1 to the tycoon Sidney Harman. Harman died the following year.
Before he died, he placed Newsweek into a joint venture with IAC/InterActiveCorp’s The Daily Beast Web site in an effort to trim the magazine’s losses.
Brown and Shetty said the all-digital publication will be called Newsweek Global and will be a single, worldwide edition that requires a paid subscription. It will be available for tablets and Web site reading, with certain content available on The Daily Beast Web site.