Newsweek to end print edition
of the most globally recognised and longest running magazines in
US history, has announced to end its print edition after nearly 80
years. Due to the "challenging economics of print publishing" it
has decided to become an internet only »
If Newsweek is going, can Time be far behind? Or for that matter
Bugles, Posts, Heralds, and a sundry other print publications, for
how long can they survive in this digital age?
That is the question being asked since the iconic newsweekly, that
for 80 years with its rival Time magazine had become a must read
for news and analyses for people around the world, announced last
week that it would end print publication at year's end.
The magazine will live on digitally though as Newsweek Global, as
an adjunct to the online magazine the Daily Beast, with which it
merged last year.
Founded in 1933, after the creation of Time, it had grown to
emerge as the second-largest news weekly magazine in the US with a
circulation of more than 3.1 million at its height.
But by 2010 its circulation had fallen to below 1.8 million and
its revenue dropped 38 percent from 2007 to 2009 prompting its
sale by The Washington Post Company to 92-year-old audio pioneer
Sidney Harman-for $1 plus an assumption of Newsweek's $47 million
However, some media analysts suggested Newsweek's decision to go
all digital may have been more a reflection of its own problems
rather than the health of the print media as such.
"I don't think anything could have saved it," Evan Thomas, a
writer and editor for Newsweek from 1986 to 2010, was quoted as
saying by the Washington Post.
"The economic model was just broken, and there wasn't enough
advertising to sustain the enormous staff that Newsweek had to
have to be a comprehensive global news organization."
As a new research report pointed out if the circulation for the
magazine industry as a whole dropped one percent in 2011 with
Newsweek seeing the greatest declines (3.4 percent), The Economist
and The Week both grew about 2 percent.
But as the 2012 State of the News Media report by Pew Research
Centre's Project for Excellence in Journalism, also noted ad
dollars followed the audiences to the web, and a stable business
model helped cable television.
But much of the legacy media suffered revenue declines. Of all
media sectors, newspapers suffered the most in 2011 losing roughly
$10 in print ad revenue for every new $1 gained online.
Over the last five years, an average of 15 papers, or just about 1
percent of the industry, has vanished each year in the US.
As a matter of survival, perhaps as many as 100 more newspapers
are expected to move to digital subscriptions in 2012 following
about 150 publications that have already done so, the report
With Americans now fully into the digital era, the Pew report
suggested that in five years many newspapers will offer a print
home-delivered newspaper only on Sunday, and perhaps one or two
other days a week that account most print ad revenue.
(Arun Kumar can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)