Who Wants to Buy a Magazine?

In Entertainment, Technology on May 6, 2010 at 9:37 am
WASHINGTON - MAY 05:  In this photo illustrati...

Image by Getty Images North America via Daylife

So, Newsweek is for sale.

“We have reported losses in the tens of millions for the last two years,” Donald Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Company, which has owned the magazine since 1961 said on Wednesday. “Outstanding work by NEWSWEEK’s people has significantly narrowed the losses in the last year and particularly in the last few months. But we do not see a path to continuing profitability under our management.”

And while Graham made it clear the magazine is up for sale, it has not been closed, and editor Jon Meacham has been giving interviews — going on The Daily Show last night — and talked about maybe trying to buy the magazine himself, it’s not looking good.

The key, I think, is — as the Associated Press reported — Graham wants to find a buyer with more resources.

The Washington Post is not a small company. Who exactly does he think is out there with more resources?

It’s a very tough time for magazines as this website shows.

Last year saw Gourmet and Domino among the big names closing.

Proving that irony is not dead, the Post’s decision to put Newsweek up for sale came around the same time, the paper’s online magazine, Slate, announced they had seen a 30 percent growth in ad revenues in the first quarter of this year.

While there has been discussion of whether devices such as the IPad will help “old media”, I think David Carr, in The New York Times, has it right: “Slate is what Newsweek used to be” and that while the newsweeklies were built on the big picture, much reporting today is of the moment.

Over at Newsonomics, Ken Doctor writes that Newsweek’s numbers “are depressing” and while there are potential buyers, “Look for it, unfortunately, to join the hallowed ranks of Colliers, Life, Look and the Saturday Evening Post.”

And, if Newsweek folds, what is that going to mean for Time Magazine or any other magazine, for that matter.

Is this, as the Associated Press wonders: “The End of an Era?”


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