Newsweek to Go All-Digital

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Newsweek’s Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown and CEO Baby Shetty announced that Newsweek’s 80 year print run will end on December 31st of this year, making it into a purely digital publication available for mobile devices, e-readers, and browsers.

In today’s day and age, where people consume news from their Twitter feeds on a real-time basis, the weekly publication has struggled to maintain relevance. Newsweek has tried to reinvent itself several times with a sale, a redesign, and a merger with ‘The Daily Beast’.

The transition toward the digital space is not a surprise, given the macro challenges facing the print industry: print costs have been increasing, print readership has been declining, and advertisers are choosing to put their ad-spend elsewhere. Furthermore, more and more people are preferring to read on mobile devices, especially on their tablets. The adoption rate of tablets is estimated by Nielsen to be 400% in the last year, and the projections for tablet ownership show that there is no expectation for this rate to slow down. Thus, the move toward digital is a smart move on Newsweek’s part.

Publications should take note of the behaviour of online consumers when it comes to online readership. According to The Economist Group, people prefer to use their browsers, rather than dedicated news apps to read news. However, people who use news apps are a more captive audience: They are more likely to get their news daily, seek out more sources, read in-depth articles and to pay for online content. Thus there is lots of potential for publications to get most of their revenue from digital, going forward. Financial Times, for example, now has 285,000 digital subscribers, almost equivalent to its 305,000 print subscribers (Financial Times).

As Newsweek announces its move toward digital, many are questioning the fate of Time Magazine, Newsweek’s rival. What other publications do you expect to go all-digital? Is this the beginning of the end of print?

 

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