End of Printed Newsweek – No One Under 45 Cares

Newsweek Drops Print Edition (GalleyCat)
Newsweek will end its print edition on Dec. 31, after 80 years in the magazine business. The magazine will continue in a digital format, maintaining its partnership with The Daily Beast. Reuters The decision to go all-digital underscores the problems faced by newsweeklies, as more consumers favor tablets and mobile devices over print in an increasingly commoditized, 24-hour news cycle. NYT / Media DecoderNewsweek editor Tina Brown characterized the move as bowing to the inevitable digital future. “You cannot actually change an era of enormous disruptive innovation,” she said in a phone interview. “No one single person can reverse that trend. You can’t turn back what is an inexorable trend.” 

Newsweek’s first issue – Feb. 17, 1933. The print edition ceases in Dec. 2012.

That cut is from Media Bistro 10/19/12. All those links are worth a read, as are the ones I’ve put in below. There is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking on the web on almost every single solitary news-related event. People will opine the loss of Newsweek as one of the great bastions of the American Fourth Estate, they will talk in nostalgic tones about their love for the print magazine and how important a newsweekly is to the general discourse. And you know what? It’s all a bunch of rose-colored tommyrot.

The cold hard facts are that today’s print Newsweek is wafer thin because there isn’t any advertising. In the print-on-demand, access-from-mobile-device, tweet-from-your-smartphone world of 2012, a printed newsweekly that arrives on the newsstand or at your door via the postal service is as relevant to today’s info-culture as the Wright Flyer is to modern aviation. It’s simply something that we built on, we loved, and now we have to leave behind.

It doesn’t hurt that Newsweek’s subscription audience has fallen off a cliff in recent years. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, the mag still had 3.1 million subscribers in 2007 — essentially the same number as in 2000 — but that it had shed an astonishing 1.5 million subscribers by 2012. The soundbite pundits looking for a sensational segment on Morning Joe will say it’s down to Tina Brown. Some of it, maybe. Those sensationalist covers of late did smack of panic and desperation, but the fact is that the Washington Post Company didn’t sell Newsweek to the Harman family for $1 because they were trying to be nice.

As Chuck Todd of NBC News so eloquently put it, “No one under 45 cares.”

And THAT’S the real takeaway.

If you’re not changing to make sure your product, service or business model reflects tomorrow’s consumers today, don’t look upset when the world bitch-slaps you and says, “It’s too late, you should have paid attention.”

Here’s Andrew Sullivan’s eloquent take on the whole end-of-print thing. Sullivan is a great case-maker for a digital world, as well.

Here’s Tina Brown and Baba Shetty’s announcement. (This, by the way, is a takeaway of lesser importance: the announcement of the end of print Newsweek was made where? Yes, online. Think about it.)

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