06/04/2013 10:26 am ET

Newsweek Subscribers, Circulation Fell By Half In Three Years

The Pew Research Center painted a grim portrait of Newsweek's numbers on Monday, on the heels of Tina Brown's announcement that the magazine is exploring a sale.

Brown and Newsweek CEO Baba Shetty said in a memo last week that Newsweek's "demands have taken attention and focus away from The Daily Beast." The news prompted New York magazine to ask, "Why in the World Would Anyone Buy Newsweek?"

The question may be even harder to answer looking at the numbers compiled as part of the Pew Research Center's "The State of the News Media 2013" report. "The news magazine genre in general has faced a difficult time transitioning to the digital space," the organization concluded. "But for Newsweek, the past few years have been especially tumultuous."

Newsweek lost more than half of its subscribers between 2007 and 2010, plunging from 3,077,771 subscribers to 1,535,930. Ad pages also declined 60 percent from 2002 to 2012.

Overall circulation also fell by 50 percent from 3.2 million in 1992 to 1.5 million in 2012, with the most steep drop occurring from 2007 and 2010.

The magazine was just one of six publications that were part of the study — all of which have suffered from the decline of print. Pew looked at Newsweek's numbers across several years, but its report on the 2012 numbers highlighted difficulties for all the magazines. Time, for example, was the only one of the six to see decreases in newsstand sales, number of subscriptions and total circulation.



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