Here’s a surprising headline: Newsweek is scheduled to revive its U.S. print edition as a subscription-dependent news weekly.
The New York Times reported late Tuesday that the magazine’s new owners intend to return to a print in January or February, targeting a 64-page book.
“It’s going to be a more subscription-based model, closer to what The Economist is compared to what Time magazine is,” Newsweek editor in chief Jim Impoco told the Times. “We see it as a premium product, a boutique product.”
There was no mention of the print plan on Newsweek’s website, which emphasized the digital nature of its U.S. operation, complemented by an English-language international print publication and a handful of foreign-lingo print editions.
The return to print on a weekly schedule is an unexpected turn of events after years of downbeat headlines for the respected weekly newsmagazine. It had a rocky run under editor Tina Brown for the past three years under the umbrella of Barry Diller’s IAC Corp., which merged the print operation with Brown’s Daily Beast web operation. Before that, longtime parent company Washington Post. Co. sold the magazine for $1 and the assumption of $40 million in debt to billionaire Sidney Harman, who then spearheaded the IAC-Daily Beast merger.
Amid significant red ink, the U.S. print edition of Newsweek was ended in December 2012, and IAC sold Newsweek (separated from Daily Beast) to digital firm IBT Media in August.
Under Impoco, Newsweek has added editorial staffers, but the decision to take another run at a print publication still came as a surprise. Newsweek’s ups and downs have unfolded at a tumultuous time for the magazine industry overall, even for some of its most prominent brands.
Newsweek’s older newsweekly rival, Time magazine, is also facing an uncertain future as it awaits the spinoff of its publishing parent org as a stand-alone entity detached from the larger Time Warner empire.