Newsweek Sold Again
The Newsweek brand is on the move once more.
On Saturday, IBT Media, owners of the news website International Business Times, stated that it will be acquiring the venerable newsweekly from IAC/InterActive. As for current Newsweek employees, IBT Media will evaluate staffing resources during the transition period of 60 days. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"There could be some changes in the future but, broadly speaking, Newsweek is going to continue to run as Newsweek," said Johnathan Davis, co-founder and chief content officer of IBT Media, to The Hollywood Reporter by phone on Sunday. Davis stated that, currently, there are 20 staff members on the magazine's payroll. IBT Media, he says, employs about 150 people on the editorial side.
The magazine, which published its last U.S. issue in December, will continue to print under license agreements in international markets. "We still see that there’s a lot of potential in some of these other areas, whether digital or print," Davis said. "And so, where it's still been printed we plan to continue that and we also plan to explore potential markets to enter as well."
Newsweek was sold by The Washington Post Company to stereo magnate Sidney Harman for the price of $1 and assumption of liabilities in 2010. While it was in print under the leadership of former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, the newsweekly became known for buzzy and often controversial covers.
Newsweek, which had been housed as a topic page on The Daily Beast's website since its merger with IAC/InterActive in fall 2010, will get its own standalone URL back. Its new sister site, the International Business Times, claims 13 million unique visitors worldwide and was started in 2006. Although billed as a financial hub, ibtimes.com is also a general news destination covering many of the same topic areas as the Beast.
"We believe in the Newsweek brand and look forward to growing it, fully transformed to the digital age," said Etienne Uzac, co-founder and chief executive officer of IBT Media in a statement. "We respect the brand’s long history of delivering high-quality, impactful journalism and believe this aligns well with IBT Media’s culture and mission. We look forward to working together to create a profitable and successful enterprise."
In preparation for a sale, Newsweek unveiled an ambitiously redesigned site earlier this year and was repositioned as a paid tablet magazine offering longer, reported articles. A digital subscription to the magazine was set at $24.99 yearly or $2.99 monthly. Despite its current status as a topic page on the Beast site, the magazine has retained a sizable -- and separate -- social-media following on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
IAC chairman Barry Diller has expressed little enthusiasm about the magazine brand in recent interviews. "I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek," he told Bloomberg TV in April. "It was a mistake."