Newsweek To Go All-Digital After 80 Years in Print

Newsweek’s digital audience will soon become its only audience as the newsmagazine moves to an online-only format early next year.

In a few months, newsstand goers will be without one weekly publication that has been prominently displayed for 80 years. Newsweek magazine will be transitioning to an all-digital format in early 2013, according to Tina Brown, editor-in-chief and founder of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, who posted an open letter on The Daily Beast this morning.

The move comes just four years after the launch of The Daily Beast and two years after the merger of the online news site and Newsweek.

This decision … is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.

Newsweek Global, a single worldwide digital publication, will be “targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.”

“Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us,” wrote Brown. “But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future.”

Brown, the opening general session speaker at the 2011 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition, told her audience then that the two entities complemented each other well and that the different styles of journalism, fast-breaking news and in-depth analysis, allowed them to exist separately.

In the year since, though, The Daily Beast has seen an increase in online readership of 70 percent, with 15 million unique visitors a month, part of the reason that Brown began rethinking the company’s strategy.

The other had to do with something many associations grapple with as they look at their publications model.

“This decision … is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution,” said Brown, who added that the current print advertising environment has had a major effect on business.

Other publications have had success online, and Brown believes that her company is in a position to do so as well. She says it has reached the “tipping point” with readers increasingly looking for news online and on the go; 66 percent of Americans who own a tablet or smartphone say they get their news digitally, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

“Tablet-use has grown rapidly among our readers and with it the opportunity to sustain editorial excellence through swift, easy digital distribution,” she said.

It’s been clear for a while now that digital is too big to ignore. Maybe your organization isn’t completely stopping print production like Newsweek, or maybe you are. Either way, what changes are you making to adapt to the digital environment?

(photo by aikijuanma/Flickr)

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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