It’s not the kind of about-face you would expect when an increasing number of struggling print publications are either folding or taking their entire operations online, but Newsweek, which a year ago announced it was abandoning print after almost 80 years, has announced that it will return to the format in the next couple of months.
Editor-in-chief Jim Impoco told the NY Times this week that a weekly edition comprising 64 pages will start rolling off the presses in January or February, a move many in the industry will see as bold considering the battering so many newspapers and magazines have been taking in recent years as both readers and advertisers head to the Web.
In an effort to reduce reliance on income from advertisers, Impoco said the cover price of the new print edition will be higher than before, though the specific cost is yet to be revealed.
With the Web edition still free, and many readers having turned to Newsweek’s mobile apps in the last year, Impoco and his team surely have their work cut out as they seek to build a decent readership for the returning print version.
“It’s going to be a more subscription-based model, closer to what The Economist is compared to what Time magazine is,” Impoco told the NY Times, adding “We see it as a premium product, a boutique product.”
Newsweek has changed hands several time in recent years, which goes some way to explaining its present course of action.
Current owner IBT Media bought the title from Internet firm IAC/InterActiveCorp in August this year. IAC had bought Newsweek in 2010, though chairman Barry Diller told Bloomberg in April that he regretted the purchase.
“I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek, it was a mistake,” Diller said. Let’s hope IBT Media won’t be talking in similar terms following the launch of its brand new print edition next year.