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Newsweek to Become Online-Only After 80 Years in Print

Newsweek to Become Online-Only After 80 Years in Print
Newsweek’s circulation has dropped to about 1.5 million from about 4 million a decade ago, according to the Audit Board of Circulations. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Newsweek, owned by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, will become an online-only publication next year, ending 80 years as a print magazine.

The last print edition in the U.S. will be the Dec. 31 issue, Tina Brown, editor-in-chief and founder of Newsweek Daily Beast Co., said today on the company’s website. The all-digital publication, to be called Newsweek Global, will require subscriptions and will be available on tablet computers and on the Web, Brown said.

The company started discussing the likelihood of ceasing print as early as June, Brown said in an interview.

“It was never a question of whether, it was a question of when,” she said. The “incredibly archaic” costs of print and the opportunity to expand through digital distribution motivated the change, she said.

Newsweek, which merged with IAC’s Daily Beast website last year, will lose more than $22 million this year, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said in July. At the time, Diller expressed concern to Brown and requested that the magazine’s leadership come up with a plan to stem costs ahead of IAC’s third-quarter earnings report, scheduled for next week, according to two people familiar with the matter. The people requested anonymity because the information is private.

Justine Sacco, a spokeswoman for IAC, declined to comment on Diller’s discussions with Newsweek leadership.

Declining Circulation

The magazine’s circulation has dropped by 42 percent to 1.5 million from 2009, according to the publisher’s statement with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

As part of the shift to all-digital publishing, the company plans to cut staff, according to the statement. Brown declined to say how many positions would be eliminated.

At least a third of the Newsweek and the Daily Beast’s staff of 270 are represented by the Newspaper Guild of New York, according to Guild President Bill O’Meara, who said that could complicate plans to cut employees. The current contract expires at the end of this year.

Newsweek expects “at least hundreds of thousands” of current print subscribers to convert to the digital edition, Baba Shetty, chief executive officer of Newsweek Daily Beast, said in an interview.

Brown said more and more readers are asking for Newsweek online.

“The readers have been wanting this and IAC, this whole company is geared toward digital and we really wanted to embrace our future now,” she said.

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