Last week, Newsweek announced that it was moving to an all-digital format after 80 years as a print publication. The magazine will release its last print edition December 31st, and will begin releasing the all-digital edition in early 2013.
As reported in a recent study conducted by the Pew Internet Research Group 25% of Americans own a tablet computer. This is up from only 4% of tablet ownership found in a study Pew conducted in 2010. That is a huge jump in just 2 years.
In another recent study conducted by the Pew Internet Research Group it was found that, “among regular news readers, 71% of those under age 30 consume their news on a computer or handheld devices such as a tablet, e-reader, or cell phone, compared with 51% of older adults.”
So does it make sense for Newsweek to go digital? I read many of the comments on The Daily Beast, an online news site started by Newsweek editor Tina Brown, and it seems that many feel that because Newsweek is going digital the reporting, articles and content will suffer. But is this true? I think the answer lies in the excerpt from an interview with Tina Brown conducted by Steve Inskeep at NPR.
INSKEEP: Are you disappointed at all, that the covers did not save the print edition of Newsweek?
BROWN: There was no cover that could save the print edition of Newsweek. It cost $43 million to simply print, manufacture, distribute before you’ve hired a single writer or photographer. So the economics of publishing print no longer worked and that’s why we’re going to go all-digital.
$43 Million. That number is staggering. If you could cut that by even half, that money could be diverted to reporting, photography/video and editing, making the magazine stronger and even more relevant to a worldwide digital market.
Are we just having a hard time thinking of a world where we don’t hold paper books or magazines; where we don’t “own” something tangible? What are your thoughts?
Video Interview With Brown