On Thursday, Newsweek announced they will be an all-digital magazine by the start of 2013. After nearly 80 years in print, “challenging economics of print publishing and distribution” means that the publication will solely be found online. When I read Tina Brown and Baba Shetty’s article online first thing yesterday morning, I wasn’t at all surprised.
There are certainly some unhappy with the news. But the loss of Newsweek’s hardcopy was predictable. It cost $40 million per year to publish, while ad rates everywhere were dropping and Tina Brown saw circulation halved from 3,158,480 in 2001 to 1,527,157 last June. Her attempts to goose sales with ridiculous covers (a few on Michelle Bachman, heaven and the Middle East) did not do the trade proud.
But there is a silver lining in the digitization of news, especially if you are a business relying on media for public relations. Here are five reasons not to cry over Newsweek’s move (and the inevitable move many of your favorite publications will make in the future):
- Sharing is Caring – online content is prime for sharing across social media sites, via email, mobile phones and devices, etc. Most business’ target audiences are filled with busy people and in an increasingly mobile world, taking control of where content lives and how it can be accessed is paramount.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – online content shows up in Google searches and can be linked to and from, which increases web traffic for companies and brands.
- Life Expectancy = Forever – unlike a magazine, online content can’t be thrown away or recycled, it will live forever. This can be good or bad for a business or brand, depending on the nature of the story.
- Easy Access – news and feature stories are easily accessible, at any time and from anywhere, so even your prospects in Abu Dhabi can see the story at their convenience.
- Instant Gratification – almost everything that appears in print can be found online, and most times, the online version appears before you get your hands on the magazine or newspaper version anyway. You can beat your boss at sharing the news if you log on first!
Newsweek and TheDailyBeast.com attract more than 15 million unique visitors per month – a 70 percent increase from last year. The Huffington Post draws 39 million unique visitors each month. Combined, they are getting double the viewership of the evening news – and it’s all sharable content that needs to be “fed” at a much higher turnover rate than, well, a weekly magazine.
That’s good news for those doing nimble public relations – and for our clients who want to engage. And as the New York Times’ media reporter David Carr (@carr2n) noted in a tweet last night: “Tina's mag was tin-eared -- a double issue of Queen's jubilee! -- but The Beast is good looking, well written addition to Web.”