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Newsweek owners reportedly mulling digital-only options

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Barry Diller told investors on a conference call today that one of Newsweek's biggest problems is its manufacturing costs, and inferred that a move to a digital-only format could be one way to solve the problem.

iOS Newsstand with Newsweek
iOS Newsstand with Newsweek

The digital magazine The Daily may not be performing up to expectations, but that hasn't soured media magnate Barry Diller on the future of digital: Newsweek may be on the table for the digital-only treatment as well. According to Reuters, the CEO said yesterday that one of the biggest problems with the 79-year-old magazine — which is currently available in both print and digital formats — was its manufacturing costs, and inferred that moving to a digital-only format could be a possible solution. "I'm not saying it will happen totally, but the transition to online from hard print will take place," he told investors on a conference call. "We're examining all of our options."

Reports of the comments prompted a push back from Newsweek itself. The publication's blog posted portions of an internal email from editor Tina Brown, in which Brown framed Diller's comments as industry-wide generalizations that were obvious given the recent trends in print publication. Brown also echoed Diller's statement that the magazine wouldn't have a game plan in place for 2013 until September or October of this year, but that there were "many options to choose from." While it seems clear that a move to a digital-only Newsweek is by no means a certainty, the fact that such a move may be among the options being discussed is yet another reminder of the ground digital consumption continues to gain over traditional media — with little relief in sight.