Newsweek won't be last to go all digital

Print media is dying a slow death as advertisers disappear.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 18, 2012 12:34PM
Newspaper on front step of house copyright Siri Stafford, Photodisc, Getty ImagesThe question isn't whether other magazines and newspapers will follow in Newsweek's footsteps and end their print editions but which ones and how soon. 

Print media has been dying a slow, agonizing death for years, but lately it appears to be speeding up. Advance Publications, a newspaper publisher, recently ended daily publication at The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans, and at three papers in Alabama. 

Other newspapers are sure to follow because the costs of printing daily editions can no longer be sustained. Newsweek, which Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) took control of this year, is in a similar situation.

The 80-year-old publication generated $141 million in advertising revenue in 2011, down more than 68% from $445 million in 2003, according to data from the Association of Magazine Media. Diller, who is a billionaire, clearly can afford to fund the publication as it tries to regain its financial footing as a digital business. His patience, though, isn't endless.

Time magazine, owned by Time Warner (TWX), slumped 30.4% to $419 million during that same time. Sports Illustrated was down 9% to $576 million, and Entertainment Weekly has plunged more than 15% to $197 million. Both publications are also owned by Time Warner. Time, the largest magazine publisher, has long been a drag on the world's largest media company. Operating income plunged 43% to $97 million in the last quarter as advertising and subscription revenues slumped by double digits. 

Time Warner has been under pressure from shareholders to jettison Time Inc. as it did Time Warner Music a few years ago. It wouldn't surprise me if CEO Jeffrey Bewkes was considering converting some, if not all, of Time's publications to all-digital formats in the not-too-distant future. Time has reportedly hired McKinsey & Co. to "identify new ways to mine revenue from consumers," according to Ad Week. A company spokeswoman couldn't be reached.
 
I often wonder whether my son, who just turned 6, will laugh at the idea that words were ever printed on paper when he's older.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.
 
Tags: IACITWX
9Comments
Oct 18, 2012 2:52PM
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It is very sad what is happening to the print media.  It all starts in the schools, that advance children that do not know how to read, and that do not enjoy the printed words.  All media in the country use and abuse the First Ammendment and that is also shameful.  From the height of my years and experience, it warms the spirit to be able to sit in the mornings with a cup of coffee and the daily newspaper, but... rush, rush, rush, there's no time anymore.  It is easier and takes less time to swallow the broadcast media capsules, without thinking about the substance and veracity of each newsclip.  One can only feel sorry for the road we are walking....
Oct 18, 2012 3:45PM
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I don't particularly like digital "magazines." As far as I am concerned, when the printed edition is dropped, my subscription will be dropped too. Not only is the computer harder to read, it is harder to ignore the obnoxious advertising.
Oct 18, 2012 6:00PM
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Newsweek has been a leftist rag since at least 1969 when I was in Vietnam. I wish it would fail altogether. Given time, perhaps it will.
Oct 18, 2012 5:10PM
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its not just the internet unionization has crip0pled the industry.  ask maureen dawd and the other so called jornalist about  the compensation packaes they enjoy
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Just wait until next week and the news will be, Newsweek jobs transferred overseas.
Oct 18, 2012 2:28PM
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As Long As The Media Continues To Not Print The Truth, They Will All FAIL.

These Rags Are No Longer News Sources. They Are Propoganda Machines For The New Socialist Party ( Formerly Democrat Party )

Since All They Print Are Lies & Most Americans Have Woken Up To This Fact & Only 8% Actually Believe Thier Garbage, They Need To Just GO AWAY.

I Would Actually Read & Believe "Pravda" Before Believing ABC,NBS,CBS,CNN & MSNBC Or Most Newspapers Because At Least Pravda Admitted Its A Mouthpiece Of The Communists.

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