Newsweek offline + online is the future, says Barry Diller

July 27, 2011

Many of you  might have forgotten IAC/InteractiveCorp’s Daily Beast and Newsweek agreed to merge operations last November to create a new entity called, well…  Newsweek. And that would be understandable as it’s been pretty quiet till this week’s interview scoop with the former IMF chief Dominque Strauss-Kahn’s accuser.

IAC Chairman Barry Diller (pictured, right) told Wall Street analysts today that Newsweek has a promising future very different from the floundering Newsweek of recent years. He said under the leadership of Daily Beast founder Tina Brown the weekly magazine is starting to win back advertisers and subscribers.

“The losses are not really high. In a year, year-and-a-half or so, I think it’s probably a year-and-a- half, I think we’ll have no losses and be on the positive side. And I think for a pretty small investment we’re going to build a serious long-term asset in new publishing,” which he describes as the combination or offline and online.

Diller said the publication has some 10 million unique visitors on the Web and said the effort would  result in “reasonable losses”. He said total investment will probably come to a total of $50 million from “inception to conclusion of losses”.

This isn’t too dissimilar to Rupert Murdoch’s estimation for The Daily, the iPad-based daily magazine News Corp launched in February with much fanfare, a $30 million pre-launch  investment and a promise to spend around $500,000 a week running it. News Corp has not said much about The Daily since its launch and in recent weeks, well… they’ve had other distractions. Still New York Observer has a story here today saying the fledgling news service is suffering start-up growth pains.

Meanwhile, IAC shares were up by as much as 16 percent on Wednesday as the home of and beat Wall Street forecasts and investors welcomed its ever expanding share buyback. “It’s almost as if they quietly taking the company private,” said analyst Colin Gillis of BGC Partners.

(Photo: Reuters)

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