Does NY Mag Understand Newsweek's Business?

In New York Magazine's "numerical summary" of our economic times, they list the decline in the number of cars and light trucks sold, the proposed rise in the price of a transit farecard ... And the decline in guaranteed circulation for Newsweek magazine from 3.1 million in 2007 to a proposed 1.6 million in 2009.

But there's something the writers miss. Not only do they for some reason neglect 2008 (reported base of 2.6 million), but they also leave out a reasonable argument for the newsweekly to be cutting its circ: cutting costs, and the ability to raise ad rates for a more choice audience. As Ad Age reports:
Newsweek will likely take the opportunity to simultaneously steer toward a more a elite readership -- by eliminating the least-valuable, most-discounted subscriptions on its books.
Times are tough for print pubs, and magazines in recent months have started suffering some of the same steep declines newspapers have gotten used to. But it's also no secret that to get subscriptions, general interest weeklies and monthlies have practically given away the "book" for subscription prices that don't pay for the editions and thrown in premiums (such as umbrellas or tote bags) that can cost a good chunk of the subscription price.

So, while one could look at the move by Newsweek as an act of desperation brought on by declining economic times, we should also note that the company's rate base cut -- something Time did a couple years ago -- has been rumored since well before the current economic decline . It can get a smaller more valuable audience in print, leaving the less valuable but higher numerical audience, a lower-priced commodity for advertisers, to its digital side.

It's safe to say, too, that Newsweek isn't the only magazine thinking along these lines.

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