WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Washington Post announced Wednesday it was putting Newsweek magazine up for sale, relinquishing the publication after more than 40 years in the latest sign of the news industry’s distress.
The magazine, founded in the 1930s, is now a global brand but has been losing money as it struggles with falling subscription and declining advertising revenue.
“Newsweek is a lively, important magazine and website, and in the current climate, it might be a better fit elsewhere,” Washington Post Co. chairman Donald Graham said in a statement.
“The losses at Newsweek in 2007-2009 are a matter of record,” Graham said. “Despite heroic efforts on the part of Newsweek’s management and staff, we expect it to still lose money in 2010.
“We are exploring all options to fix that problem,” he said.
The Post Co. said it had retained Allen & Company to explore the possible sale of the magazine, which was launched in 1933 and purchased by the Post Co. in 1961.
In addition to Newsweek and the flagship Washington Post, the Post Co. owns Kaplan educational services and cable TV operations.
Like other US magazines, Newsweek has been grappling with a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.
The Post Co.’s magazine publishing division, which includes Newsweek, Slate and other titles, reported an operating loss of 29.3 million dollars last year.
Advertising revenue at Newsweek fell 37 percent last year.
The decision to sell Newsweek follows a series of cost-cutting moves at The Washington Post.
“Don Graham tells me he just could not see a ‘path to profitability’ for Newsweek,” the Post’s media reporter Howard Kurtz wrote on his Twitter page.
In November, on the heels of early retirements or buyouts for several hundred Post employees, the newspaper announced that it was closing its last three domestic bureaus in the United States.