Last week it was announced that Newsweek will cease print publications. The last issue will be December 31st, 2012.
The long-time competitor to TIME magazine was finally forced to make this major decision after losses in ad sales and circulation were too much to overcome. The digital era gives advertisers unlimited options and easy-to-track solutions that print publications just can’t compete with. Newsweek owns the Daily Beast, but a clear merging of the two never took place. The internal and external struggles mounted to this breaking point for Newsweek.
The final print copy of Newsweek will give way to a digital-only publication, Newsweek Global, which readers can pay to subscribe to (while The Daily Beast will remain a free online news source). The hope with this transition is that the increase in tablet users from now until the end of the year will produce a high-demand for this type of subscription.
No. With news breaking in real-time and our constant connection to digital media, this news is not the least-bit shocking. “It was only a matter of time…” we said to ourselves (along with a number of other puns that referenced Newsweek’s competitor). We may not have been surprised, but we were saddened. Print is still familiar to us and we still have a habit of thinking of things formatted and timed for print. There’s also something comforting about the option to unplug and flip through physical pages.
But now we wait. Newsweek is the first major print publication to fall in the digital age, and we don’t think it will take long for other print publications to feel the pressures of keeping up with news in real-time and, of course, the growing losses in revenue.
Tina Brown, the magazine’s editor, also said something very telling of the future of journalism:
“You cannot actually change an era of enormous disruptive innovation. No one single person can reverse that trend. You can’t turn back what is an inexorable trend.”
We see this to be true with every passing day. Not just with the kinds of media we book, but also with the book industry’s publishing trends. We are very clearly headed into a future dominated by digital, so might as well embrace it. Well, we’ll embrace it and remain nostalgic…we want our hands on that final issue as soon as it comes out. Maybe we’ll keep it framed somewhere and tell our grandchildren what it was once like to wait for the news each week.