Newsweek has apparently decided that the best way to stem the flow of red ink is to print fewer issues of the magazine. It will now trim it’s publication schedule back from what editor Tina Brown originally envisioned.
According to a report in the New York Post, the magazine will go dark for a total of four weeks this year as it continues to lose money:
Newsweek lost $40 million in the two years before it was divested in August 2010 by the Washington Post Co. for $1 to stereo equipment mogul Sidney Harman. Harman had said he was prepared to spend up to $40 million over the next few years to save the iconic title — but then the 92-year-old patron died in April of a fast-spreading cancer.
Before he died Harman was able to forge a partnership with Barry Diller of IAC/Interactive that in essence merged the operations of Newsweek with The Daily Beast website.
But the synergies of merging the two properties is questionable, as the website continues to attract visitors while the redesigned Newsweek struggles to regain its footing in a treacherous publishing environment.
The Post reported that ad pages, which are the bread and butter of the magazine, are down 23% compared to a year ago, but that apparently hasn’t dampened the outlook by the top brass:
Newsweek publisher Ray Chelstowski pointed out that the 23 percent decline is lower than when the magazine rolled out its March redesign, saying that this is “another indicator that our business is moving in the right direction.”
I think that was the same direction the magazine was heading in before The Washington Post Company chairman decided to sell the ailing property before it bled the company dry.
Newsweek isn’t the only magazine suffering, as Time magazine announced that it will also go dark for an additional week in an admission that the advertising market and the economy haven’t recovered as much as they had hoped.
Even though the late Sid Harman vowed to keep Newsweek alive, if it continues to financially perform poorly, Harman’s widow and the board may have no choice but to go dark permanently.