The 16% cutback is one of the largest among a series at big magazines over the last few years, a sweep that has seen ambitions reduced at diverse titles including Playboy, Reader's Digest, Star, Woman's Day and BusinessWeek.
Race against Time
But Newsweek's move is particularly notable amid its battle against Time, which slashed its own rate base to 3.25 million from 4 million at the beginning of the year. It's also the first big development since Newsweek shook up its executive suite on Tuesday, when it named a longtime Viacom cable executive, Thomas E. Ascheim, to take over as CEO and promoted Gregory Osberg from publisher to president.
Newsweek cited rising postal and other costs in explaining its decision, according to a media buyer who has been briefed on the plan. "Obviously people are also migrating online for news and information," said the buyer. "It's hard to maintain current subscribers and attract new subscribers."
"That said, newsweekly brands are still powerful, given that they provide credible, fact-based journalism," the buyer added. "What will change is the delivery of this content."
Newsweek has reported average paid circulation of 3.14 million copies during the first half of 2007, down a slim 0.1% from the first half of 2006, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Ad pages from January through the issue dated Oct. 29 this year have fallen 6.4% from the equivalent period in 2006, according to the Media Industry Newsletter.
A spokeswoman for Newsweek was unable to immediately confirm the news or provide comment.