Barry Diller made some comments during IAC’s earnings call that have the media buzzing about Newsweek going online only. The trouble is, media outlets are a bit confused over what Diller said exactly. Did he definitely say Newsweek’s print days are over or not?
All Things D reported that Diller was only “considering” going online, and offered a transcript of the debated comments:
The [Newsweek] brand is good. What is the problem? The problem is, manufacturing and producing a weekly newsmagazine, and that has to be solved. And everybody is going to face the same problem — other than I think luxury brands over a period of time. Because advertising in this category is entirely elective. And the transition will happen, I believe. I’m not saying it will happen totally. But the transition to online from hard print will take place. 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. I can’t tell you in what ways it’s going to be different. But it will be different.
Vague as hell, right? Well, in that hell is pretty vague, aside from it probably being very hot. To clear things up, a IAC spokesperson told Politico that Diller was just speaking in general terms, and that Newsweek is not dead yet. Bloomberg News, however, remains unconvinced.
Its headline about Diller’s comments reads “Newsweek Owner Says Magazine Will Eventually Shift Online.” The piece then opens with “Newsweek will eventually transition to an online publication, owner IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) said today, marking the beginning of the end for the magazine’s 79-year run as a print weekly.”
It’s a done deal! Well, not really. Bloomberg can’t even get its own story straight. It added, “He [Diller] stopped short of saying it would be a ‘total’ shift to the Internet.”
To summarize: Diller said something that could maybe possibly probably indicate Newsweek will soon be a digital only publication. Or not.