Remember the name “Newsweek?” As recently as this past summer it has received a lot of attention – unfortunately – for its ever-decreasing value, until it was purchased by IBT Media.
Since the purchase in the summer of 2013, IBT Media has been quietly tripling Newsweek’s audience as a web-only experience. And now they’ve announced plans to bring Newsweek back to print.
This is a big deal, though not because it settles the dispute of which is better, print or digital. It does highlight some very important truths:
They didn’t let history tell them what to do: they let today’s readers have a voice.
In Newsweek’s heyday, they were printing 3.3 million copies of the magazine. Instead of relying on that bloated number to forecast the selling potential of the magazine, IBT Media waited until readers were asking for a version without a backlit screen. And since it’s for a select crowd, they are considering it a “luxury product,” rather than the bread and butter.
There is a strategy behind the decision to include print.
While they are listening to their readers, they’re also strategically using print as a platform for getting more exposure for the priority product: digital. The Editor in Chief, Steven Cohn, is quoted saying, ““The print magazine is kind of a prop to give the web better exposure,” in this article.
The two owners of IBT Media - Johnathan Davis and Etienne Uzac – study their audience. They’ve grown rapidly from a small, 2-man show in 2006 to a $21 million company, and that comes from knowing what your audience wants, and delivering it to them. “‘We began to shift the culture to serve a different type of demand, so we were getting cues back from our audience,’” Mr. Davis told the NYtimes.
The IBT Media team won’t get the same metrics from the print version Newsweek, but with the foundation of knowing their audience and having a sound goal for the print, there’s still a pretty visible path to a successful print launch.
March 4th, 2014 by Joy Beachy