4 Reasons Newsweek’s All-Digital Model Is a Business Win

The iconic magazine is making a smart business move with new model

Minimal Production Costs

Newsweek’s circulation in the states has fallen from a one-time peak of nearly 3 million to roughly 1.5 million currently, Reuters reports.  With print production costs remaining high, the company’s investment in print was not adding up. With digital, there is a considerable reduction in production costs and an opportunity for a business to cash in by charging for additional content. The New York Times rolled out a three-pricing tiered digital subscription plan in March 2011 and has seen favorable results. The historic newspaper boasts over 500,000 digital subscribers. Hence, cross-format circulation revenue is up nearly 10%, which has helped offset print’s decline.

According to Pew Research findings, 65% of Internet users have paid to download or access some form of digital content. Of those nearly two-thirds of web users, nearly 20% paid for digital print publications and 21% paid for apps for their mobile devices.

More Encompassing User Experience

The magazine experience can never be replaced; however, it can be reformed. While test groups and surveys are considered when putting together the final print product, once the magazine is out, it is out. However, upon reviewing data, digital content producers can gauge what works and what doesn’t instantly. That means, if users resonate with specific content around a certain time, staffers can customize the experience for loyal and returning visitors. Various online destinations use algorithms to personalize a user’s experience on a site, even down to their favorite sections.

Profit from Multiple Digital Properties

With mobile at the forefront of many companies’ digital strategies, it’s no different for news outlets. Today’s news consumer is a “multi-platform news consumer,” and a recent Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism report backs that up. Sixty-four percent of tablet owners and 62% of smartphone owners report they use the devices for news at least weekly, which means a third of all American adults now get news on a mobile device at least once a week. While mobile is a strong start for the magazine, Newsweek has the option of exploring other digital ideas and properties, from gamification to customizable apps, among other things—all of which can mean more green for Brown and company.

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