Newsweek Magazine sprang onto the scene in 1933. Cover price: one dime or $4 for an annual subscription. On December 31, 2012, after 80 years, the former industry leader printed its last issue. This is a “…move that makes it the most widely-read magazine yet to give up on the print media,” according to Wall Street Journal (WSJ) writers, Daniel and Hagey.
What went wrong? Are there lessons for business owners?
What Went Wrong?
According to Ben Thompson at the BBC, key challenges included:
- Printing/Production Costs: It cost $40M per year to print the magazine.
- Industry Under Pressure: Online news, social media scoops, and 24-hour TV news rendered printed monthly news magazines “old-news” upon arrival.
- Audience Attrition: Since 2005, circulation for Newsweek reportedly dropped by half to 1.5 million, according to WSJ sources. Subscribers and advertisers dwindled. (BBC Video Newsweek Publishes Last Edition On Paper. )
The Way Forward
Newsweek Magazine merged with The Daily Beast and became a digital magazine. It now has 15 million visitors per month—up 70 percent versus the prior year.
Beginning in 2013, the digital-only version, Newsweek Global, is available by subscription for $4.99/single copy or $24.99 annually. If successful, this may become the new business model for the industry.
Lessons for Business Owners
- Take notice of detrimental business profitably trends early. Examine and embrace alternatives before an outdated business model eats your business.
- Consider advantageous alliances.
- Strategically court a new target audience to augment your core following.
- Face reality head-on. Make strategic shifts that play to your strengths. Remember the John Wooden quote, “Change is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
- BBC News. Ben Thompson. Newsweek Publishes Last Edition On Paper. December 31, 2012.
- Wall Street Journal. Robert Daniel and Keach Hagey. Turning a Page: Newsweek Ends Print Run.
- The Daily Beast (Video). www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/…/a-new-chapter.ht