Newsweek to go all digital in 2013
“It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”
–Tina Brown, Newsweek Editor
This one feels like a real sea (or should that be “e”?) change.
Newsweek, published since 1933, will continue to be published in 2013…but not in paper.
I think this puts pressure on Time.
Newsweek is well-known**, as is Time.
There has been this sense that those two magazines are in some way preserving traditional journalism by continuing to distribute on a dried and pressed matte of randomly interwoven wood fibers*.
By stopping physical distribution with the December 31, 2012 issue, Newsweek is saying that you don’t need to be paper journalism to be proper journalism.
I think Tina Brown does an excellent job of explaining it in this
in The Daily Beast.
The owner of Newsweek has actually been The Newsweek Daily Beast Company since late 2010.
I have to say this feels like a growing up, a maturing…like ending the paper edition is equivalent to putting away your childhood security blanket and embracing the future.
It still has to work; it has to be shown that a viable business model for good journalism can be fully digital. Brown says:
“At the same time, our business has been increasingly affected by the challenging print advertising environment, while Newsweek’s online and e-reader content has built a rapidly growing audience through the Apple, Kindle, Zinio and Nook stores as well as on The Daily Beast. Tablet-use has grown rapidly among our readers and with it the opportunity to sustain editorial excellence through swift, easy digital distribution—a superb global platform for our award-winning journalism. By year’s end, tablet users in the United States alone are expected to exceed 70 million, up from 13 million just two years ago.”
That’s where the money is…tablet distribution. People may not want to pay for much on the internet, but they’ll pay to subscribe to things on their tablets. They’ll do automatic renewal…you don’t need to put five fly-away subscription cards in every issue, and start wrapping the magazine in brightly colored, doom-saying warnings that “THIS MAY BE YOUR LAST ISSUE!”
Just like you could with paper, you can sell advertising and have subscribers both.
Kudos to Tina Brown for leading the change in distribution while respecting journalistic traditions.
What do you think? Does this surprise you, or are you surprised it hadn’t happened already? Does Time soldier on, or make a similar switch? Should The Daily Beast have just dropped Newsweek name? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
*I was amused by the Wikipedia description of paper, and have adapted a small part of it here
**I had originally used the term “highly-respected” for Newsweek and Time. A reader, jh, challenged the use of that term. You can see our discussion of it in the comments, but I took the suggestion and have edited the post to say “well-known”. My intent here was to suggest that Newsweek and Time might be seen as similar, and that Time might be influenced by a decision Newsweek made
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.