Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Washington Post Announces a One-Time Fire Sale for Newsweek

This is how bad things are at Newsweek: Not only has owner Washington Post Co. (WPO) hired Allen & Company to sell the magazine, but it’s not pretending otherwise.

From the release:

“The losses at Newsweek in 2007-2009 are a matter of record. Despite heroic efforts on the part of Newsweek’s management and staff, we expect it to still lose money in 2010. We are exploring all options to fix that problem,” said Donald E. Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Company. “Newsweek is a lively, important magazine and website, and in the current climate, it might be a better fit elsewhere.”

In corporatespeak, this is equivalent to hastily scrawling out a “Going Out of Business–Name Your Price” sign and plastering it on the front window.

Anyone want to make a bid? Newsweek saw revenue decline 29 percent last year and ended up losing $29.3 million on sales of $184 million.

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that things are comparatively awesome for rival Time Magazine: Owner Time Warner’s (TWX) Time Inc. just reported that ad sales are up (unit-wide) for the first time in two years.

Ah. Here’s Time’s grave-dancing statement right now, via a press release: “TIME continues to be healthy and profitable, and a trusted source of news, reporting and analysis for millions of people in America and around the world in print, online and on the iPad. We had a highly profitable year last year and will have an even more profitable one this year.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work