A little more than two months after the merger of Newseek magazine and the online website The Daily Beast, Editor in Chief Tina Brown is making limited progress in attracting advertising to the redesigned magazine.
According to Ad Age, ad pages at Newsweek have declined 34% from last year, but the pace of the decline has slowed to 22.5% since March 14th, when Brown took over the magazine.
Newsweek shocked the industry last month when the April 18th issue contained just six pages of advertising, creating doubt as to whether or not the magazine would be financially viable.
Advertisers are notoriously gun-shy about hitching their stars to unproven magazines. Even though Newsweek has been published since 1933, its current iteration is very different from what the magazine has been throughout much of its history. And that makes advertisers nervous.
But Newsweek’s biggest obstacle is its main rival Time, whose ad pages are up 7% in 2011 and are more than double Newsweek’s. This is a gap that they aren’t likely to close very soon, if ever.
At a time when the media is consolidating in an effort to fend of the threat of the Internet, the idea that the public needs or even wants two liberal national newsweeklies is for those wedded to the past and not the future.
With Newsweek likely to lose money in 2011, it may be a better investment for the owners to increase investment in The Daily Beast, which is growing and profitable, rather than in a printed magazine that represents the past and not the future of journalism.