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Newsweek ends 79-year print run; paid-for digital from next year

Newsweek down the years

Newsweek, the 79-year-old American news weekly, is stopping its print edition with the December 31 issue.

Announcing this today on Newsweek's sister website, the Daily Beast, editor-in-chief Tina Brown said," Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. "

The new all-digital publication will be called Newsweek Global.

"It will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context," said Brown.

Newsweek Global will require a paid-for subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.

Brown said, "Four years ago we launched The Daily Beast. Two years later, we merged our business with the iconic Newsweek magazine—which The Washington Post Company had sold to Dr. Sidney Harman.

"The Daily Beast now attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, a 70 percent increase in the past year alone—a healthy portion of this traffic generated each week by Newsweek’s strong original journalism."

Brown said the business has been increasingly affected by the challenging print advertising environment.

Newsweek, whose main competitor is Time magazine , is projected to lose as much as $22 million this year.

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

Yet Newsweek’s online and e-reader content has built a rapidly growing audience through the Apple, Kindle, Zinio and Nook stores as well as on The Daily Beast.

By year’s end, tablet users in the United States alone are expected to exceed 70 million, up from 13 million just two years ago.

Brown insisted,". We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution."

"Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night.

"But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future."

"Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamling of our editorial and business operations both here in the US and internationally."

This comes after the GMG yesterday rubbished comments that the Guardian was set to go online only, following an article in the Telegraph.

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