Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Most Magazines to Begin Going Digital-Only by the End of the Decade

Newsweek – Going Digital-Only AND Global

At least that is what publishing industry ‘watchers’ predict.

One early indicator of this transformation: Newsweek magazine is going digital-only at the end of this year and be renamed Newsweek Global. (I still don’t think print mags will disappear completely – they’ve had too much of a renewed growth and popularity – due, incidentally, to digital growth).

But, it’s the ‘going global’ thing with Newsweek — and how they’ve set it up — that I think is interesting.

TJ Raphael reports this in FOLIO magazine:

Newsweek To Cease Print Publication in 2013

Rebranded in a digital-only format called Newsweek Global.

Earlier this week at the American Magazine Conference, industry watchers speculated that most magazines will begin going digital-only by the end of the decade—that prediction seems to be coming to fruition sooner than expected, starting with today’s announcement that Newsweekmagazine will cease its print publication by the end of 2012.

After 80 years in print, the magazine will transition to an all-digital format, renaming itself Newsweek Global, and will become a single, worldwide edition targeted for a mobile audience. Newsweek has an Asian edition; a Business Plus edition; an edition for Latin America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa in addition to its U.S. publication, all of which will be consolidated into Newsweek Global.

A statement from the Newsweek/Daily Beast Company, signed by editor-in-chief Tina Brown and CEO Baba Shetty, says that Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.

“Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the United States and internationally,” says an internal memo posted on the company’s Tumblr page. “More details on the new organizational structure will be shared individually in the coming weeks and months.”

According to the most recent Fas-Fax from the Audit Bureau of Circulations for the period ending June 30, 2012, Newsweek saw a 9.7 percent year-over-year drop in the number of single copies sold at retail, with total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation dropping by 0.2 percent. In the last three years, its total paid and verified circulation has gone from 2,646,613 to 1,527,157, with single copies going from 64,866 to 42,065 during the same period. Ad pages, however, have been up by 2.5 percent year-to-date, according to Min Box Score numbers.

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Publishing Nuggets

Have I got some publishing nuggets for you!

Lots of insightful publishing and publishing-related tidbits roaming around the internet today! Some I think you will find interesting and learn a good deal from:

IAB Reports 2010 Internet Ad Revenues Up Almost 15 Percent

2010 fourth quarter revenue increases 19 Percent over 2009 Q4.

I wanted to introduce the IAB (the Interactive Advertising Bureau) to you all in this one.

Grading the Tina Brown Newsweek

Packaging, graphics are much improved, but can she walk the “Newsbeast” line?


Sports Illustrated Launches App for Motorola Xoom

App is part of Time Inc.’s “All Access” digital subscription plan.


Could Google’s earnings feed doubt across the tech world?

Google’s earnings fell short of what analysts were expecting Thursday, sending shares in the tech giant sinking to a six-month low in after-hours trading.


AcademicPub Launches New Custom Publishing Option for Higher Education Community

Faculty Members and Their Students to Benefit from Copyright-Cleared Course Materials Delivered in Real Time and Sourced from Great Diversity of Content Sources


OnSwipe Brings Tablet Publishing To The Browser (TCTV Demo)

Or they can keep on publishing on the Web and display their websites differently to people who visit them via tablet browsers. OnSwipe is a new digital publishing tools company that wants to make mobile browsing as swipe-friendly as a tablet app.

Great reading and learning nuggets!

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Another Take on Newsweek…A Reason for Demise

After I posted yesterday that I was sorry to see Newsweek in trouble and up for sale AND how much I enjoyed the magazine, I read a NY Times article by David Carr (pictured at left) who gives a succinct analysis as to WHY, perhaps, the periodical has capsized.

I do not agree with EVERYTHING he postulates…especially the idea that it was better to start a new product than to upgrade the Newsweek brand…OR that NOTHING could resuscitate Newsweek…OR that Newsweek was your father’s magazine and no amount of reinvention could fix that!…As if fathers were somehow less astute about ANYTHING than the “in-a-hurry-want-superficial-news-fast” crowd today!

Just because we have faster delivery systems today (many due to the work of our fathers) doesn’t mean we don’t want some in-depth and in-between-the-lines analysis of our news…And I think the news weeklies do this…How WELL they do this is another matter of internal managemant and editorial talent…as Mr Carr says, the Economist and the Week are successful…Why is that? Read what he has to say:

What do the Brits know that we don’t about publishing weeklies in America? The Week and The Economist, both owned by British publishing companies, continue to grow even as it was announced today that Newsweek is up for sale with very meager prospects.

American newsweeklies were built on original reporting of Large Events, helping readers make sense of a complicated world, but it is a costly endeavor with diminishing returns during an era of commodified and chewed-over news. Both The Economist and The Week were built, rather Web-like, to “borrow” the reporting and then spread analysis on top, thereby making a sundae without having to crank the ice cream maker.

And in this instance, the foreignness of the brands gives the reader an intellectual sheen that once Olympian domestic brands can’t. The Economist and The Week not only make you smarter at cocktail parties by giving you a brief on the week events, but name-checking them will make you sound in the know. Mention Newsweek and people will wonder whether you’ve been going to the dentist a lot lately.

Not much need be said about how the news cycle overtook Newsweek, but suffice to say that daily journalism began to fold in real-time analytics and then the Web came along and annotated every event before it was hours old, let alone a week. At $5.95 per issue, Newsweek is hardly a bargain. The current issue with an embattled soldier on the front — we will skip the jokey metaphor — has some great writing, including an adaptation from Sebastian Junger’s new book “War,” but at 56 pages, it seems thin and not very much of the moment.

Newsweek is your father’s magazine, and no amount of reinvention could fix that. The brand still has recognition, but beyond helping its editor, Jon Meacham, get on television and sell some books, it hard to tell what the brand is really worth at this point. The people at the magazine had been told that they had until the end of 2010 to figure it out, but with loses of more than $500,000 a week, the alarm clock rang on the early side.

In fact, no amount of time or reimagination would have changed the eventual outcome: The economics of weekly publishing are horrible any which way you look – Entertainment Weekly is attenuating into a brochure – and the high cost of acquiring and servicing subscribers is not being offset by very weak ad sales. In the weekly space, apart from celebrity magazines, only two other major magazines – New York and The New Yorker – seem to be getting by, in part because they work in niches and in part because they each have remarkable editorial leadership. But it’s a rough road no matter who is doing the driving.

Newsweek is up against the tyranny of big numbers. One of the magazine’s assets – with almost 2 million subscribers, it has great reach into the culture – is a disadvantage at a time when a general interest read of the news has become a niche activity. Part of the reason that The Economist (813,240) and The Week (517,037) have done well is that both titles have smaller circulation bases and more manageable costs. (An executive at Time who did not speak for attribution because he is not allowed to comment on profits said, “We are not in the Newsweek business. Time is a magazine that makes, not loses, tens of millions of dollars a year.” He said that staff cuts and a cut in rate base to 3.25 million from 4 million had created a business that is steadily profitable and in no danger of being sold or closed.)

In retrospect the ownership of The Washington Post Company, which bought Slate in 2004, could see the writing on the wall. In a very practical way, Slate is what Newsweek used to be, with an insouciant, knowing voice and a take worth reading. Slate is also a reminder that building or buying a relatively new business to meet a changing market is usually a better route to success than trying to walk back the cat on a legacy businesses. Newsweek may have had a fine Web site, but it was stapled to a huge costs of print infrastructure built up over decades. As needs and opportunities have arisen, Slate has been able to build out additional sites including The Root, The Big Money and DoubleX without huge initial investment.

Mr. Meacham, who has said that he would like to lead a purchase of the magazine, tried to stem the decline with a redesign that made it scan as a kind of bigger, mass market New Republic, a Beltway magazine of ideas in opinion. Wags might suggest that he succeeded all too well, creating a weekly that lost money that not many people talked about.

American newsweeklies have been compared to the automotive industry, but it is also important to remember that they are far more reliant on Detroit as well. When the American auto industry was going good, so were Time and Newsweek, with their broad footprint and underlying narrative of chronicling the American dream. At the beginning of the current downturn, an executive at one of the weeklies said to me, “There is nothing wrong with these magazines that a healthy Detroit couldn’t fix.” After defaults and bankruptcies, we all know how that turned out.

Mr. Meacham said he had already had voice-mails from “two billionaires” about the magazine, but when someone named Donald E. Graham says, “We don’t see a sustained path to profitability for Newsweek,” you have to hope they are rich guys in the habit of losing money. Most of them aren’t — that’s how they got rich in the first place.


Newsweek Put on the Block!

I enjoy the hell out of Newsweek consistently. I will miss this great news mag! AND their website, as well! Tell me, where are the people going to read good, in-depth stories sprinkled with humor when the need arises? Where will Howard Fineman go? I LIKE HOWARD!

Anyway, the Washington Post Company is searching for buyers for Newsweek and IF I had the moolah I would buy it myself…

Jason Fell of FOLIO Magazine reported this:

The Washington Post Company has put Newsweek magazine on the block. The newspaper publisher said today that it has retained Allen & Company to explore a potential sale.

“The losses at Newsweek in 2007 to 2009 are a matter of record. Despite heroic efforts on the part of Newsweek’s management and staff, we expect it to still lose money in 2010,” Washington Post Co. chairman Donald E. Graham says in a statement. “We are exploring all options to fix that problem. Newsweek is a lively, important magazine and website, and in the current climate, it might be a better fit elsewhere.”

Advertising pages at Newsweek declined 20.4 percent through the first quarter of 2010according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. Through 2009, pages were down 25.9 percent.

Last year, Newsweek’s overall paid and verified circulation fell 27 percent, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Newsstand sales plummeted more than 40percent to 62,257 copies.

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