The companies didn’t disclose financial terms. But they said today that IBT Media has agreed to buy Newsweek‘s brand and online operations, leaving its sister publication The Daily Beast with IAC. Barry Diller‘s company, which bought Newsweek in 2010, will manage the publication for a transition period of up to 60 days. IBT says that it will build the once iconic newsweekly into a global, online destination for news and analysis. It also will maintain license agreements to publish Newsweek in overseas markets. “We believe in the Newsweek brand and look forward to growing it, fully transformed to the digital age,” says IBT co-founder and CEO Etienne Uzac. “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.” IBT, founded in 2006, also publishes Medical Daily, Latin Times and iDigitalTimes.
“I got seduced into Newsweek,” said Barry Diller today about his plan to sell the new magazine brand. “We started Daily Beast and it worked really well and we built up nice audiences. But we somehow got into Newsweek, this news book, and it has taken a year and a half of focus unfortunately and I want to get back to the Daily Beast“. The IAC chief would not say how much he wanted for the now-shuttered weekly newsmag or who is interested. “It much better belongs in a widely diversified publishing company,” was all he added. Diller was appearing Wednesday with CNN chief Jeff Zucker at this year’s D11 conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes.
Regrading his Aereo streaming service, Diller said it is spreading out to 22 more cities in the next few months, and that if it gets to 15 million-20 million homes “we can start our own programming”. And legal battles with broadcasters are only helping his cause. “I’m happy they sued us because its gotten Aereo known to more people. All this drama is good for us,” Diller said. “It is very overblown this thing. I don’t want to beat up broadcasters…I want to move the line to open Internet systems.” He added, “I think the more video, all forms of video, you can get over the Internet protocols, …
Tina Brown, who edits Newsweek and The Daily Beast, announced this morning that the nearly 80-year-old weekly newsmagazine will go all-digital. The December 31 edition will be the last one in print. Its online successor, to be called Newsweek Global, will offer a single, subscription-based international edition designed for e-readers, tablets and the Web and targeted to opinion leaders. Even so, Brown and Newsweek Daily Beast CEO Baba Shetty say that they “anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the U.S. and internationally.” The execs say that they are “transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it,” adding that they “remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”
The news comes from IAC/InterActiveCorp chief Barry Diller in a conference call with analysts to discuss his company’s earnings. Newsweek/Daily Beast is “squarely on our heads,” he said following the recent decision by the family of Sidney Harman to pull back its funding for the joint venture. Diller says that IAC also won’t “contribute to the losses of the business as they’ve been this year…Our investment next year will be considerably less.” Does that mean Diller will scrap the print publication, and just offer news and commentary online? Not clear. “The transition will happen,” Diller says although he adds “I’m not saying it will happen totally.” But either late this year or early next “it’ll be different. I can’t tell you in what ways.” The problem is that advertising in newsweeklies is “entirely elective.” Yet he praised editor Tina Brown’s efforts. “The brand is stronger than when we acquired it,” he says. “There’s been true improvement in the book. Tina Brown and her staff have done a superb job.” Although IAC doesn’t breakout financials for Newsweek/Daily Beast, it said this morning that the inclusion of the property in the Q2 results contributed to higher losses for the Media group. IAC took an $18.6M pre-tax non-cash charge to recognize the declining value of its investment in the property.
It’s up to Barry Diller‘s company to chart a course for the Tina Brown-run print and Internet publication. The family of one-time audio pioneer Sidney Harman decided to pull back from the joint venture with IAC. Harman was actively involved in the operation, but he died in April 2011. As a result, “the Harman trust has indicated that it does not intend to make further capital contributions to the venture,” it told Reuters, which broke the story. Harman’s wife, former California Rep. Jane Harman, will remain on the board. The big question now is how long Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp will be willing to stick by Newsweek/Daily Beast. Word has it the board doesn’t like the business, although Diller’s control of 42.8% of the company votes means he usually gets what he wants. The print publication had an operating loss of about $39.5M in 2009; the Washington Post sold it in 2010 to Harman for $1 along with his assumption of liabilities. But its circulation has continued to fall: It was down 31.6% in 2010 and then 3.4% last year to 1.5M. Meanwhile, the ad-supported online publication is estimated to be losing about $10M a year.
Don’t hold your breath, but Roger Ailes said in a new interview with Newsweek that over the past year his Fox News Channel — considered the conservative option to rival cable news networks CNN and MSNBC — has embarked on a “course correction” in how it presents opinion on the air. Ailes says the shift occurred after the nasty rhetoric immediately following the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in January. It takes awhile to get to the point in the Howard Kurtz piece, but here’s the nut graph:
Glenn Beck’s inflammatory rhetoric—his ranting about Obama being a racist—“became a bit of a branding issue for us” before the hot-button host left in July, Ailes says. So too did Sarah Palin’s being widely promoted as the GOP’s potential savior—in large measure through her lucrative platform at Fox. Privately, Fox executives say the entire network took a hard right turn after Obama’s election, but, as the Tea Party’s popularity fades, is edging back toward the mainstream.
It’s possible that the departure of Glenn Beck after the commentator and network allegedly couldn’t agree on a new contract back in April is part proof of the new direction at Fox News. And Ailes took the opportunity in the article to take little shots at his Fox News colleagues Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and fellow “conservative” Joe Scarborough at MSNBC. …
Sidney Harman has died. The 93-year-old entrepreneur, who kept Newsweek afloat by buying the faltering magazine from the Washington Post Co for $1 and then merging it with IAC and Tina Brown’s website The Daily Beast, died Tuesday evening. He passed away from complications from acute myeloid leukemia, according to a statement the family gave the website. Harman’s family disclosed he discovered he was ill just one month ago. He died in Washington, D.C.
How Harman’s death will impact the future of the magazine/website remains to be seen. Funeral arrangements are private, but memorials are in the works. A tribute to Harman was penned on the website by Jonathan Alter, who just announced his exit from the magazine after 28 years there.
This, after talks were abandoned just recently. The new venture will be called the Newsweek Daily Beast. Tonight, Tina Brown, Daily Beast’s co-founder, announced the merger — “some weddings take longer to plan than others” — and will top edit. The Daily Beast is underwritten by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (who’s been looking to get out from under) while Newsweek was recently purchased by Sidney Harman for $1 (because no one else wanted to keep the print edition going). Both media outlets are money-losing ventures, with Newsweek losing about $20M a year, and the Daily Beast about $10M this year. So now the combined company is a $30M a year loser?
(New York, October 20, 2010) Jon Meacham, the former editor of Newsweek magazine and the Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling author of AMERICAN LION, is joining the staff of the Random House Publishing Group as Executive Vice President and Executive Editor. His appointment, effective January 3, 2011, was announced today by Gina Centrello, President and Publisher, Random House Publishing Group, to whom he will report.Mr. Meacham will acquire and edit a select number of nonfiction titles each year by seasoned and emerging talent for the Random House list, working with Susan Kamil, the Publisher of the Random House imprint. “Jon will help us carry forward the Random House nonfiction publishing tradition, with a particular emphasis on works of history, biography, and religion,” said Ms. Kamil. “I look forward to working closely with Jon.”
In his newly created capacity, Mr. Meacham will work with Ms. Kamil and Kate Medina, Associate Publisher, advising Ms. Centrello on a broad scope of publishing opportunities. He will also explore potential digital-publishing initiatives, drawing on his journalistic perspective and experience and his wide-ranging international contacts.
A Random House author since 2003 with the publication of FRANKLIN AND WINSTON, Mr. Meacham won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography for AMERICAN LION: ANDREW JACKSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE, which Random House published in November 2008. AMERICAN LION and FRANKLIN AND WINSTON were New York Times bestsellers in their hardcover and trade paperback editions. Mr. Meacham is under contract to Random House to write biographies of Thomas Jefferson and George H. W.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that talks between The Daily Beast and Newsweek have cratered. The two companies had been discussing a deal to make Tina Brown editor of Newsweek. But details couldn’t be worked out surrounding the division of power between Brown, new Newsweek owner Sidney Harman, and Barry Diller, who’s chairman of Daily Beast owner IAC. Harman recently purchased Newsweek from the Washington Post Co. for the sum of $1.
The New York Times and Politico report that the Washington Post Co will sell Newsweek to Dr. Sidney Harman, a 91-year old stereo equipment magnate, philanthropist, and husband of U.S. Rep Jane Harman (D-Calif.). The NYT reports that Harman began selling FM radios in the 1950s. Now, he’ll have to prove that a print newsweekly isn’t the equivalent of the phonograph. He’ll do it without longtime editor Jon Meacham, who’s going to leave. Harman is paying $1, and absorbing Newsweek‘s “considerable financial liabilities”. Newsweek, which has been redesigned as it switched from hard news to trends and analysis, lost nearly $30 million last year alone,