Newsweek has delayed the rollout of its new print edition until early March, with a cover date of March 7, according to Jim Impoco, Newsweek's editor since September. The brand, which went all-digital at the end of 2012, had said last month that it planned to roll out a print revival in January or February.
"It was a pretty aggressive deadline," Mr. Impoco told Ad Age on Tuesday. "Editorial is ready, but we're waiting on production."
The company is also still looking to secure advertising for the print return and to hire a global publisher. The search for a publisher has been narrowed to one person, Mr. Impoco said, declining to name the candidate. Currently, Scott Miller, senior VP-global sales and marketing at Newsweek owner IBT Media, is captaining ad sales for the brand.
The delay is not a setback, Mr. Miller said. "We pushed it back to make sure we had enough time," he said.
"Agencies have been receptive in taking meetings," Mr. Miller added. "The response has been very positive," he added, declining to discuss ad sales so far in detail. Both Mr. Miller and Mr. Impoco were in Los Angeles on Tuesday to meet with major auto manufacturers about advertising in Newsweek, they said.
Mr. Impoco, former enterprise editor and executive editor for Thomson Reuters Digital, surprised the media world in December when he told The New York Times that Newsweek was planning a return to print. The title, which IBT Media bought from IAC in August, had endured double-digit ad-page declines in four of its final five years in print and failed to regain profitability despite a high-profile rescue attempt under editor Tina Brown.
But Newsweek's print revival is meant to follow a different strategy, shifting from a model where advertisers subsidize low subscription rates to one where readers foot much of the bill. The new print edition will shoot for roughly 100,000 subscribers in its first year, Mr. Impoco said last month, plus newsstand sales at outlets such as Barnes & Noble and airports. Newsweek averaged 1.35 million paid print subscriptions in the second half of 2012, its last six months in print, down from 1.39 million in the second half of 2011, according the Alliance for Audited Media.
Last week, Newsweek introduced a redesign to its website, the second in less than a year. The first redesign, which came when IAC still owned the title, reflected Newsweek's prior strategy of publishing a once-a-week digital product. The latest incarnation reflects the new editorial vision to publish stories around the clock, Alex Leo, head of product for IBT Media and Newsweek, said in a letter to readers.