IAC chairman Barry Diller spurred rumors about whether Newsweek will end its print publication when he referenced a print-to-online transition on Wednesday. Editor-in-chief Tina Brown later sought to assure staffers that that was not what he had said.
All Things D reports that during a company earnings call, Diller was asked if he has considered making the publication online only. "The transition to online from hard print will take place," he answered. "We’re examining all of our options. Our plan is that, by September, October and certainly, uh, firmly have a plan in place for next year. It’s going be different than it is this year."
Reports that Diller intended to take the magazine digital by the fall spread on Twitter. However, IAC spokesperson Justine Sacco later clarified the comments, telling multiple reporters that web-only was merely a possibility that he was considering along with others, and that he had been referring to a general transition for the media industry.
Later, Brown also issued a memo to staff clarifying the remarks. "Barry Diller would like to make it clear that he did not say on the earnings call as reported that Newsweek is going digital in September," she wrote. She added that his observation about the surge of digital was "industry-wide" and "uncontroversial."
Whatever Diller's plan is, it's certain that things will change. His company gained sole control of Newsweek/Daily Beast after the Harman family announced Monday that it was withdrawing much of its funding. The two groups previously had a 50-50 share of the two publications.
Click over to Romenesko for the full text of Brown's memo to staff.