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Newsweek bows out after eight decades in print

After almost 80 years in print, Newsweek is the world’s most widely-read magazine to go completely online.

The cover of the final print issue, dated December 31, is a shot of what was its Manhattan office building, with a Twitter hashtag, #lastprintissue, across the front in red.

The internationally circulated magazine, which for its entire existence has competed ferociously with Time as a record of week’s top stories, will in future be known as Newsweek Global.

The content of both newsweeklies has diverged substantially since they had to adapt to changing reader habits and a drop in advertising revenues for print publications.

Since 2005, Newsweek's circulation has dropped by about half to 1.5 million and advertising pages plunged more than 80%, while the magazine's annual losses had lately reached roughly $US40 million.

The transition to digital began two years ago when the magazine was sold by the Washington Post company, which had owned Newsweek since 1961, sold it to The Daily Beast, a news and commentary website.

The Daily Beast is controlled by Barry Diller’s IAC/Interactive Corporation and in the past year has grown 36% to five million unique visitors per month.

Under the editorship of Tina Brown, a former editor of the New Yorker (1992-98) and Vanity Fair (1984-92), Newsweek became known for provocative covers, such as the one imagining what Princess Diana would look like at age 50.

Newsweek’s history: Founded by ex-Time man
Founded in 1933 by a former Time foreign editor, Thomas JC Martyn, Newsweek closely followed the format of its longer established and better-known rival.

It remained as underdog after its purchase by the Washington Post Co until the internet accelerated a downward spiral.

In 2010, it was sold for $US1 to Sidney Harman, an audio-equipment tycoon who later merged the magazine with IAC's Daily Beast.

It is not the first time a US-based newsweekly has gone digital. In 2008, US News & World Report went online and is profitable with 180 staff members, according to its editor, Brian Kelly.

Partly thanks to its popular US college rankings, its website draws about 5.9 million unique visitors a month.

Time’s print edition, meanwhile, has around 3.3 million subscribers worldwide.

More by Nevil Gibson

Comments and questions
1

Good for them for adapting to the times. In business you're either growing or you're dying- they're ain't no third direction. I think this is a very smart business decision for anyone in the news business.
Austin