When media mogul Barry Diller and legendary magazine editor Tina Brown couldn’t keep Newsweek running as a profitable print magazine, small digital publishers IBT Media picked up the failing business for a song.
The idea, according to Leslie Kaufmann in the New York Times, was to “recreate Newsweek as a vibrant and profitable web-only magazine. But now, having tripled Newsweek’s online traffic, they plan to punctuate the magazine’s comeback by turning on the printing presses again. Hard copies are expected to hit newsstands on Friday,” says Kaufmann.
It’s a great sign of recovery for our industry, and a notable landmark in the changing business climate for print magazines.
As we reported yesterday, Jim Impoco, Newsweek’s editor-in-chief, believes a key to their success this time around will be to print a smaller, sustainable number of magazines (70,000 at this point) and sell them at a profit-making point of $7.99 via newsstands. The content will also be available at a cheaper price online.
Newsweek is getting kudos for their business model, including a shout out from Steven Cohn of Media Industry Newsletter who said that their decision to print the magazine “made good business sense.”
With newsstand sales falling by 11% in 2013 (paid subscriptions only fell by 1.2 percent), it’s a risky, but intelligent, move. With a solid editorial team (Impoco, along with prominent writers like Kurt Eichenwald and Matthew Cooper joined by several younger colleagues), the magazine hopes to regain its former prominence by relying on their readers to help them define their coverage.
“We began to shift the culture to serve a different type of demand, so we were getting cues back from our audience,” Jonathan Davis, one of IBT Media’s founders, on how they were able to create solid traffic for their diverse digital publishing base.
We are happy to see Newsweek return to print and excited to get our hands on a copy soon.