Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Re-Birth of Newsweek: Newsweek, America's Second Biggest News Magazine has Evolved

Newsweek: Now vs. Then

Newsweek has changed. For the better. The little things and the big things alike; they've added stuff, taken away stuff, modified stuff, all with a new aim to be a new magazine with a new direction of making it in a tough economy with creativity and intuitiveness. Without a doubt, it's the right step but even with the total and utter and complete makeover, it'll be tough to find success as a print publication looking for market share in these tough times.

How Newsweek Has Changed

The little things

If you ask anyone at the company, they'll probably say it's the little things that make or break a magazine. Well, Newsweek has re-made its little things into one big masterpiece. They've improved the site design, staying with the same colors and fonts but employing them in a more appealing way.
They've improved the interface with easy navigation and more convenience; the blogs are right at the top, they've put in an "In the Know" section that highlights important articles from other news agencies, they have a "News/Week" bar that shows the important stories from each day on an interactive space.
They've supplemented to the cool factor with a quote bar. But there a much bigger things as well.

The big things

Everything that you could possibly need is now at your fingertips with Newsweek's evolution. The Newsweek Newswire, although only for the featured stories, adds insight from other sources, from Wikitravel to the the Moscow Times to the New Yorker while Newsweekopedia provides a full collection of all Newsweek articles on every topic from economic stimulus to crime. And this is literally every topic ever mentioned in a Newsweek article. In addition, direct links to related stories, related Newsweekopedia topics, the best Wikipedia article and web search results from Live Search provide all you need to become a Newsweekian expert on anything.
Moreover, the weekly magazine is involves readers more, which is necessary because don't we all love being involved with the rise of video games and other interactive activities? You can be involved in a new and improved daily poll section called "Serious Fun". Plus, if you have a Twitter account, your comments on Newsweek's tweets will be played for the whole world to see. They've also intergrated their own digg-like rating tool that comes standard with each of the articles that allows you to find the best articles on Newsweek. The number of "Recommendations" is proudly displayed beside every article while the number of comments is also broadcasted.

And everything they're doing is a huge mission "to create a forum for a continuous – and continuously worthwhile – conversation about key events and issues."

Is it Going to Help?

Every company out there is cash-starved. They have to cut spending in every department. This includes marketing. What does this mean for Newsweek and every other print publication, TV show, website and outdoor signage provider (I don't know what they're actually called)? It means that they can't sell enough ad space unless they lower the prices to the point where they can no longer make profit.
As you know, none of these media companies rely on the $0.50 per issue subscriber rate or even the $5 per issue at newsstands. They rely on the advertisers. Unfortunately, a great majority of advertisers are not going to have any more marketing budget until we're out of this economic crisis. Hence, the basis of this new Newsweek is to fight for what the companies can give up for advertising. Don't get me wrong, it is still a pretty huge trade but while internet ads are popping up everywhere, print publications' share of the cashflow is shrinking.
Still, it is unquestionable that this huge makeover is going to help Newsweek obtain more advertisers than they had last week but the real mystery is whether the magazine will even be able to survive and thrive, with these additional advertisers. Ad rates are lowered and they still have less advertisers than before, despite the fact that their print publication market share has not changed by much. The print publication market is simply shrinking.

On the other hand, back to positives, Newsweek is still a strong news magazine. This is why reader response is better than ever. Instead of the 2-3 "I agrees" on Facebook, they're getting 9-10 detailed responses to big articles. Their Twitter page is doing even better and the new self-integrated recommendations system is beginning to catch on.
At the same time, Google search volume doesn't seem to be seeing much of an improvement although Newsweek is neck-and-neck in terms of volume with its closest competitor, Time Magazine.

And even if it doesn't work out accordingly for Newsweek, let's hope it survives because it's a great read and never fails to fascinate.

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