Newsweek offline + online is the future, says Barry Diller

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.

from Summit Notebook:

Daily Beast staff ‘happy as clams,’ says Barry Diller

The journalists and staff who work at The Daily Beast don't look at life like you other sad-sack scribes out there who are watching your job market wash out to sea with the ebb tide. In fact, they are happy in a particularly mollusk-like way.

"They're as happy as clams," said Barry Diller, chief executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which is financing the online news outlet with its editor, Tina Brown. "They wake up every morning filled with possibility."

That's because they are not working at sinking-ship news outlets like most of the rest of their colleagues in mainstream U.S. journalism.