Venerable US magazine Newsweek, whose first issue rolled out of the press on 17 February 1933, announced Thursday its last print edition would be December 31, saying it would turn all digital to cut costs in an increasingly challenging media environment.“We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it,” wrote Tina Brown, editor-in-chief and founder of the online Newsweek Daily Beast Company, in a statement posted on the Daily Beast website.
“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.”
Brown acknowledged the merger of the print edition and the online Daily Beast operations, called “Newsweek Global,” would require layoffs.
She said the all-digital publication “will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.
It will be available on the web and on tablets via a paid subscription, with “select content” available on The Daily Beast website.
The company operating the magazine had indicated in July the move to all-digital was likely.
Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive at the conglomerate IAC, said his firm is looking at options now that its partner in the Newsweek/Daily Beast operation has pulled out.
The Washington Post sold Newsweek, which was based in New York to California billionaire Sidney Harman for one dollar in 2010, ahead of a deal with IAC to merge the magazine with the online operation to become known familiarly as “Newsbeast.”
Since the sale, the company has not been able to stem losses and the steep decline in circulation
Wikipedia reports that in 2003, worldwide circulation was more than 4 million, including 2.7 million in the U.S; by 2010 it was down to 1.5 million (with newsstand sales declining to just over 40 thousand copies per week).