U.S. News to Discontinue Monthly Print Magazine, Shift Focus to Digital

The publisher of U.S. News & World Report will discontinue its monthly magazine to concentrate on its website and single-topic print issues for newsstand sale.

The December issue will be the last one sent to subscribers, Washington, D.C.-based U.S. News Media Group said in a memo to employees today. The company plans to print eight issues a year focused on topics such its college and graduate school guides, while continuing to produce its digital U.S. News Weekly.

“We’re finally ready to complete our transition to a predominantly digital publishing model,” said Brian Kelly, editor of U.S. News, and Bill Holiber, president of U.S. News Media Group, in the memo. “This will allow us to make the most of the proven products, useful journalism, and great audience growth we’ve been sustaining.”

U.S. News was founded in 1933 and merged with World Report in 1948. It published weekly in competition with Time Warner Inc.’s Time and Newsweek, which was sold in August by Washington Post Co. U.S. News, owned by real estate developer Mort Zuckerman, reduced its print frequency to biweekly in 2008 and then to monthly in 2009 as advertising for magazines declined.

In an interview this week, Zuckerman said the subscription magazine business “is dead” and there is more opportunity in specialized issues and digital news. He said the company was generating new revenue online through “lead generation,” a process by which colleges or hospitals ranked on U.S. News lists pay a fee each time an online reader clicks over to their websites. Zuckerman, who purchased the magazine in 1984, couldn’t be reached for further comment.

The website usnews.com now averages more than 9 million unique monthly visitors, the company said on its website. It provides digital versions of the magazine’s college and hospital rankings, as well as data on mutual funds, cars and health plans.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brett Pulley in New York at bpulley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net.

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