When newsweeklies reigned

June 4, 2010

This week marked the deadline for non-binding bids for  Newsweek, the challenged publication The Washington Post Co.  put on the block on May 5.  So far at least four parties have come forward and expressed interest.

These are troubled times for weekly news magazines. On one hand, they must try to keep pace with a ruthless news cycle that shows no sign of slowing.  On the other, the best way to do so would be to become more digital and abandon their print editions — but those are what bring in the most revenue.

It’s not just Newsweek. The parent company of Newsweek’s  main competitor, Time magazine, has been fielding questions from investors and analysts about the likelihood of a possible sale — not just of Time but the whole Time Inc. unit.

During Time Warner’s investor conference in New York last week, Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes put to rest — for now at least — a sale by telling the audience Time Inc. publications have an “attractive lead position in the market.”

Maybe so. Or maybe it’s just really hard to unload magazines at the moment.

Below is a chart going back to 1961 tracking the circulation of Time and Newsweek.

Circulation for Time and Newsweek

Circulation for Time and Newsweek

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