The last print issue of Newsweek hit the newsstands last Monday. It’s something that would have been unimaginable ten or even five years ago; here’s my perspective on this important move for an important publisher.
The news has been fairly well covered across the Web. (WSJ’s, which includes the history of the publication, is a good one if you’d like to read more.) The reasons why Newsweek took this step are ironically the same ones that have supported the growth of digital business over the past decade (and at least partly the reason why the cover features a Twitter-like hashtag, I suspect):
1. A migration of users from print to digital meant loss of subscribers.2. A migration of advertisers from print to digital meant loss of revenue.3. A lack of digital DNA and expertise to reverse the above.4. Massive legacy cost structures.5. A change in how news is published (largely in real time—yesterday’s news is literally just that) and consumed (across devices and via mechanisms that are customized by the user) means that the newsroom of old is less relevant in today’s world.
Newsweek is not going away. Its new, all-digital format will have a radically lower cost structure—key to a content business today. In addition, it is part of and will have the publishing support of the Daily Beast, a growing real-time curated news site in the mold of Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and others. I expect us to see the Newsweek headline attached to quality content for years to come.
Newsweek is the first truly prominent national magazine to cease print publication, but it will not be the last. This is an era that will see more content companies struggle with former models, more digital-only media companies be created and more innovation in the technology that powers and distributes it all.
For companies in our space, this digital migration means more publishers that will depend on us for monetization, more opportunity to create digital brand experiences for advertisers that don’t yet exist and more screens to execute them on. We are truly living in a transformational time, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what changes and challenges 2013 brings.