The final copy of Newsweek will be the Dec. 31 issue. But this doesn’t mean that Newsweek will become a free news site. Instead, the magazine will become something called Newsweek Global, which Daily Beast’s Tina Brown describes as “a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.”
For people who don’t want to pay, there will be a smattering of free content posted on the Daily Beast site.
Print publishing has taken a huge hit in recent years as readership declined and advertising revenue followed. Meanwhile, the costs of printing and shipping physical copies of a magazine have also increased.
“We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents,” says Brown. “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.”
Of course, with fewer people involved in the actual production of Newsweek — and presumably at least a short-term dip in revenue — there will be staff cuts following the switch to the digital-only format.
Obviously, publishers around the world will be looking to Newsweek’s success or failure as they all consider ways to trim printing and shipping costs without damaging their readership.