The buzz in the global media industry this week is that Newsweek has been sold again. This time to International Business Times (IBT Media), a company that describes itself as a 100% digital media group.
Print to digital
While its closest competitor Time Magazine has successfully managed both its print and online presence, Newsweek has not fared as well. It's last print edition was published in December 2012.
As one who avidly follows industry news on the migration of established print titles to the digital domain, this is interesting news indeed.
How will IBT Media re-brand Newsweek to cater to a digital audience amidst stiff competition online? How will it jostle with other established names that have already carved a comfortable niche for themselves online?
IBT Media and its latest acquisition will be the focal point of attention for industry watchers in the weeks and months to come. Meanwhile here's the story that got the ball rolling.
Newsweek, Sold in 2010, Is Changing Hands Again
Newsweek, the once venerable 80-year-old weekly magazine that suffered a precipitous decline in recent years, has been bought by the digital news company International Business Times for an undisclosed amount.
The announcement, which was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, was made on Saturday evening. Etienne Uzac, co-founder and chief executive officer of IBT Media, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to welcome this iconic brand and global news property into our portfolio. We believe in the Newsweek brand and look forward to growing it, fully transformed to the digital age.”
Justine Sacco, a spokeswoman for IAC/InterActiveCorp, which currently owns Newsweek, confirmed the sale, but declined to comment further.
At Newsweek’s peak in 1991, when The Washington Post Company owned it, its circulation was 3.3 million, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. But the magazine suffered many of the troubles facing the print media industry as more readers migrated to the Web for news.
Sidney Harman, a billionaire investor, bought Newsweek from The Washington Post in 2010 for $1 and assumed $40 million in liabilities. He then merged it with The Daily Beast, the Web site owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp. Both entities were run by Tina Brown.
But in 2011, Mr. Harman died, leaving IAC and Ms. Brown to handle the burden of keeping the magazine afloat. Last fall, Newsweek announced that it would stop publishing a print edition at the end of the year. In May, Ms. Brown told her staff that the company planned to sell now to concentrate on building up The Daily Beast.
A statement released by IBT stressed that the sale did not involve the purchase of The Daily Beast. It also noted that the company planned to return Newsweek to its original Web site, www.newsweek.com, in the coming weeks and build Newsweek’s global online franchise.
“We are 100 percent digital with a track record of successfully growing online media properties,” said Johnathan Davis, co-founder and chief content officer of IBT Media, in a statement. “The Newsweek brand is strong around the world, and we believe there is significant potential to leverage that.”
The New York Times