InterActiveCorp: Ding, Dong Print is Dead

After spending more than 80 years on newsstands, Newsweek’s parent company, InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) announced that its December 31 issue will be the last print edition of the news magazine.

The magazine will transition into an all-digital format called Newsweek Global in early 2013.

A statement published by editor-in-chief Tina Brown on The Daily Beast’s website broke the news. With the change, Newsweek, which merged with The Daily Beast in 2010, means to expand its “rapidly growing tablet and online presence,” she said. The Daily Beast already exists as an online-only publication, drawing 15 million unique visitors a month, according the publication’s website.

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Brown noted that “a healthy portion of this traffic” is “generated each week by Newsweek’s strong original journalism.” However, Newsweek’s print business has been affected by the “challenging print advertising environment.” To further illustrate this point, the statement quoted a September Pew Research Center study that said 39 percent of Americans get their news from online sources.

“Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night. But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future,” said Brown in the statement.

According to Reuters, the majority of Newsweek’s recent growth has been due to the magazine’s increasing audience of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad users.

News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) made a similar transition with its publication The Daily. More than a year ago, Rupert Murdoch, the company’s chairman and chief executive, released the first made-for-the-iPad daily publication. As of February, the digital publication had 100,000 subscribers paying 99 cents per month, and according to the New York Times, publisher Greg Clayman said that The Daily was “on track to break even in five years, short of the average time it takes for a print magazine to see a profit.”

Gannett (NYSE:GCI), the parent company of USA Today, offered evidence in its third-quarter conference call that the publication’s digital format has also been successful. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Gracia C. Martore said, “Larry Kramer and his team are doing a good job with USA TODAY, and early returns are promising.” Under the guidance of Kramer, the publication launched a redesigned website and digital products in mid-September, which according to Reuters, “will be be cleaner and sleeker, with a nod to tablet editions.”

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