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Newsweek set to go online only as Tina Brown can't stop plunging sales

After 79 years Newsweek, one of the world's great news magazines - which hoped to get a second wind from a merger with Tina Brown's Daily Beast - is to vanish from the weekly world of print.

It will "eventually" transition to an online publication, chairman Barry Diller of owners InterActiveCorp announced during a quarterly conference call yesterday.

Newsweek, whose main competitor is Time magazine , is projected to lose as much as $22 million this year, said Bloomberg News , quoting a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Worldwide sales of four million just 10 years ago have shrunk to newsstand sales in the US of only 40,000.

The plan to move Newsweek to an online-only publication will be announced as early as September, according to Diller.

But still there was a glimmer of hope for some print presence. "I am not saying it'll happen totally, but the transition to online from hard print will take place," Diller said. "We are examining all our options."

Newsweek became part of his company in 2011 when it merged with IAC’s Daily Beast , an Internet news start-up that Diller founded with former Vanity Fair editor Brown. She hoped that a series of recent controversial covers would help stem the sales slide.

The merger was part of an agreement with the late Sidney Harman, who acquired Newsweek from the Washington Post Co. for $1 and the assumption of liabilities.

In late May IAC acquired a controlling stake in Newsweek/Daily Beast after Harman’s family trust stopped making capital contributions to the joint venture.

IAC makes most of its money from the Match.com and Ask.com websites. It reported a 2.1 percent gain in second-quarter net income to $43.3 million, said Bloomberg. Sales increased 40 percent to $680.6 million.

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