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Newsweek’s on the block – but magazine weeks are getting weaker

Time was when all you needed to do was put Week behind your subject matter and readers and advertisers would beat a path to your door.

But now the Washington Post company is trying to find a buyer for its 50-year old title Newsweek hard on the heels of McGraw-Hill selling Business Week (once the biggest business title on earth) to Bloomberg for just $5m.

In a digitised 24/7 news cycle ‘week’ ain’t such a benefit any more, which must prey on the minds of UK publishers like Centaur with Design Week and Marketing Week and Haymarket with Print Week (its Media Week has already disappeared online).

Felix Dennis’ The Week does very well in its counter-cyclical way so there’s hope for aggregator-type titles but that might not be enough to get a sale for the Washington Post.

Newsweek has been losing around $40m a year although the losses are reducing as it has cut its print run and other costs.

But any subscription title also carries the burden that future deliveries in the year the subscription was taken out count as a debt, which means that working capital needs are heavy. And, of course, you have far worse production problems than a daily newspaper because by the time you reach subscribers or retailers the magazine may be days not hours out of date.

So will anyone buy the once grand title?

OpenGate Capital which owns TV Guide in the US says it will bid, Time (still standing) might be interested. As David Carr suggests (in the link above) it might appeal to someone who wants a big megaphone.

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But Business Week was an obvious (and quite bargainous) property for Bloomberg. It’s harder to see the same fit for Newsweek.

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