'Newsweek' Returns To Print

by , Dec 4, 2013, 8:14 PM
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The decline in print advertising cut a wide swath through the magazine industry over the last decade -- but some formerly defunct print titles are enjoying a new lease on life, albeit often in modified form. This week brought yet another example of a magazine coming back from the dead, as Newsweek Editor in Chief Jim Impoco revealed plans to restore the title’s print presence early next year.

Newsweek, which was purchased by online publisher International Business Times Media in August, will return to print with a 64-page weekly issue beginning in January or February, according to The New York Times.

Acknowledging the realities of the print marketplace, Impoco said the relaunched magazine’s business model will skew toward subscription revenues rather than relying mostly on advertising -- similar to The Economist -- adding: “We see it as a premium product, a boutique product.”

The print revival is just the latest surprising development in a long, bumpy ride for Newsweek, which saw its value shrink precipitously in recent years.

The Washington Post Co., which bought Newsweek for $9 million in 1961 (about $68 million in 2012 dollars), ended up selling the magazine to stereo magnate Sidney Harman for $1, plus assumption of $40 million in debt and pension liabilities, in August 2010. Harman then struck a deal with Barry Diller’s IAC to merge Newsweek with the Daily Beast in November 2010.

Harman died in April 2011, and in July 2012, the Harman family stopped contributing to the money-losing combination, leaving Daily Beast backer IAC holding the bag.

Diller soon made it clear that he intended to unload Newsweek as soon as possible, telling Bloomberg TV in April of this year: “I wish I hadn't bought Newsweek -- it was a mistake.”

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