The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) Co.’s plan to sell Newsweek isn’t likely to impact its already dismal ad picture, media buyers tell paidContent. Last year, Newsweek’s ad revs fell 37 percent, though this was largely expected after the magazine slashed its rate base twice in the past two years. At least for now, the 77-year-old title can still count at least several media buyers as being squarely in its corner. “Newsweek as a brand stands on its own,” said Renee Kinsch, VP/Account Director for MPG. “As buyers, we’re always assessing how a magazine delivers. At this time, it’s too premature to assess how this will change Newsweek’s value proposition, if at all.”
Roberta Garfinkle, SVP, director of Print Strategy for media shop TargetCast, agrees, saying that consumers and advertisers don’t pay close attention to a pub’s ownership. There might be some concern if the magazine were to do a another complete overhaul, but there is no sign that Newsweek will undergo any severe cutbacks and alterations at the moment. She also said that there was nothing unique in Newsweek’s situation that would suddenly drive advertisers away.
Still, there’s no getting around the latest Publishers Information Bureau figures, which had Newsweek’s ad pages down 20.4 percent, while the total for all mags in the survey declined only 9.4 percent. In the meantime, as Washington Post Co. chairman and CEO Don Graham told our Staci D. Kramer earlier, even with those print declines, digital revs remain paltry in comparison. As Graham noted, “The print product has almost $160 million in revenue; the digital product had $8 million last year.”