U.S. News’ Blues

Despite it’s efforts to change and evolve its role in the newsweekly landscape, is it only a matter of time before U.S. News folds? Media Life Magazine recently conducted a poll of media planners and buyers and here’s what the results revealed:

    The newsweeklies have been hurt most by the internet, and readers predict that one of the three big U.S. titles will disappear. That would appear to be U.S. News, the longstanding No. 3 title owned by real estate mogul Mort Zuckerman.

    U.S. News is the smallest of the three in circulation, the weakest in ad pages, and has the least going for it in terms of strength of brand and quality of editorial, according to the Media Life poll. Recently the magazine has undergone yet another round of budget cuts, leading to more layoffs, as part of a strategy to shift its editorial emphasis online.

More findings:

    Of the three magazines, Newsweek comes out as the magazine with the best editorial, just slightly ahead of Time, at 37.9 percent versus 36.8 percent. U.S. News was picked by 25.3 percent of respondents.

    When it came to strongest brand, however, the race wasn’t even close. Time came out way ahead at 81.3 percent. Newsweek got just 12.1 percent of the votes, while U.S. News earned just 6.6 percent.

    And which is the weakest title as a brand, to flip the question around? Answers: U.S. News, 80.6 percent; Newsweek, 15 percent; Time, 8 percent.

Still, Zuckerman may not throw in the towel so fast:

    Media Life last asked readers to speculate on whether Zuckerman would sell U.S. News, in light of the recent cutbacks. Readers are divided.

    Some 14.5 percent think he will, and soon, the cutbacks being a sure indicator that he is ramping up to sell. But nearly twice as many believe Zuckerman will stick it out. The far largest share, 57 percent, declined to speculate. Over the years, Zuckerman has said consistently that he intends to keep the newsmagazine, and that’s in part because it gives him a podium for his ideas and access to politicians and TV news and chat shows.