NEWSWEEK’S HELP WANTED: Newsweek is on the hunt for a publisher. The IBT Media-owned magazine has discreetly been seeking a “president of publishing” to oversee revenue growth across advertising, consumer revenue and new streams of growth, such as e-commerce, research and events, WWD has learned.
This story first appeared in the March 24, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
IBT cofounder and chief executive officer Etienne Uzac explained that Newsweek had extended an offer to someone, but the deal fell through at the last minute. He declined to name the person, but said he now hopes to name a publisher within the next two months.
“What we’re looking for is indeed a publisher in the traditional sense of the term, whether we call it a publisher or a head of sales,” he said. “Essentially, it’s someone who can head up digital sales among other things.”
Uzac said the new publisher would help develop Newsweek’s mobile strategy, which has become a primary focus for the publication. The strategy would make premium advertising easier to read on smartphones and tablets, essentially mimicking their layout on desktops. Other key initiatives include growing both editorial and marketing teams, Uzac said, noting that he’s hoping to staff up Newsweek’s London bureau and potentially open a bureau in Hong Kong in the next year or two.
“We are completely focused on making this a successful and profitable business. We want to create a very large readership base,” he said, noting that newsweek.com receives about three million unique visitors a month and that he hopes to grow it to 10 million by the end of the year.
Those are some lofty plans, considering subscriptions cost more than most of its rivals. Newsweek charges $39.99 for a year of digital-only access and $149.99 for a year of digital and print access. Single copies of Newsweek, which are sold at premium newsstands and supermarkets, cost $8 — and there’s also a metered paywall for select digital access.
Print isn’t the focus of the business, which instead is focused on drawing in digital readers via social media, aggregators and search engines. Uzac said he still needs to sell a “few tens of thousands” of issues in print to be profitable.
“It’s a different type of strategy,” he noted. “This is not going to be a loss leader for us; we are not going to lose money on print.”