Newsweek wants to stop chasing the news and lose circulation, according to the New York Times. It wants to deliver more opinion pieces to a smaller readership. In other words, Newsweek wants to be more like the Economist, the healthiest of the three international newsweeklies.
The Economist has the fewest subscribers and possibly the lowest advertising rates. A one-time run-of the-book full-page colour ad costs $39, 950 in its Asia Pacific edition. A similar ad costs $57,585 in Newsweek’s Asian edition and $77,200 in Time’s Asian edition. (All prices quoted from the companies’ rate cards.)
The Economist sells nearly 134,000 copies a week in Asia Pacific and close to 1.4 million throughout the world. Newsweek sells just over three million copies including 200,000 in Asia and 2.6 million in the US. It plans to reduce circulation to 1.5 million by January next year. Time sells over four million copies including 3.25 million in the US and nearly 280,000 in Asia. But only the Economist Group is making a profit. Here are the latest financial reports by the owners of Newsweek, Time and the Economist.
Newsweek: Owned by the Washington Post Company. Here’s the company’s latest earnings report:
Revenue for the magazine publishing division totalled $60.0 million for the third quarter of 2008, a 4% decrease from $62.5 million for the third quarter of 2007; division revenue totalled $176.0 million for the first nine months of 2008, an 11% decrease from $197.1 million for the first nine months of 2007. The revenue decline for the third quarter of 2008 is primarily due to a decline in subscription revenue at the domestic edition as a result of the previously announced circulation rate base reduction, from 3.1 million to 2.6 million.
As previously announced, Newsweek offered a voluntary retirement incentive programme to certain employees in the first quarter of 2008 and 117 employees accepted the offer. The early retirement programme expense totalled $29.2 million…
Operating income totalled $9.0 million in the third quarter of 2008, compared to operating income of $7.0 million in the third quarter of 2007…
The division had an operating loss of $27.0 million for the first nine months of 2008…
Here’s what Time Warner’s 2008 annual report says about Time Inc, which reported an “operating loss of $6.6 billion”:
Revenues decreased 7% ($347 million) to $4.6 billion, resulting from declines of 10% ($279 million) in advertising revenues, 8% ($50 million) in other revenues and 2% ($28 million) in subscription revenues… Offsetting these decreases in part was an increase in online revenues ($57 million), led by People.com, CNNMoney.com and Time.com.
The Economist Group’s 2008 annual report, on the other hand, says:
Operating profit for the year was £44.3m, 23% higher than the previous year (on turnover 8% higher at £266.4m)…Print advertising continues to be a very healthy business for us, with revenues up 6% at The Economist.
The Economist Group, which also includes the Economist Intelligence Unit and Roll Call, is half owned by the Financial Times, a subsidiary of Pearson. Other shareholders include members of the staff and the Rothschild banking family of England.