It looks like Newsweek.com may survive in some form, but its traffic benefit to The Daily Beast is questionable.
One of the supposed benefits of the Newsweek-Daily Beast merger was that it would combine the traffic of the much-bigger Newsweek.com with the Beast’s.
Newsweek.com has 3.8 million monthly uniques to the Beast’s 1.5 million, according to Web measurement firm Compete (although the Daily Beast claims its traffic is actually 5 million).
But as critics of the deal are pointing out, more than half of Newsweek.com’s traffic comes from MSNBC and MSN.
Newsweek pays MSNBC roughly $3 million a year for the traffic, according to sources. The traffic can vary by month; for the month of October, for example, it was 38 percent of Newsweek.com’s traffic, per Compete.
Charlie Tillinghast, president, publisher of the MSNBC Digital Network, said he hasn’t talked to anyone from the combined company about continuing the traffic deal, but said he was open to it.
“We see the partnership as something to continue,” he said. “Obviously, we need good-quality content to meet our needs. But I don’t know enough about their plans.”
Reps for the Newsweek Daily Beast Co. wouldn’t comment.
(For MSNBC, which recently tried to buy the Huffington Post, New York magazine reported, the Daily Beast could actually fit its own content ambitions.)
The arrangement’s evolution shows just how much the media landscape has changed: Years ago, the money was going in the other direction, with MSNBC paying Newsweek to help fill out the content on its site.
News that Newsweek.com would end as a standalone site after the merger was complete struck a chord with staffers there, who took to Tumblr to make a passionate plea to save the site.
Tina Brown, Beast founder–turned-editor of the joint venture, took to Twitter to offer assurances that the sites would combine: “Woah! Newsweek.com's superb content will live on under its own banner & in URLs on the new site. Not shutting down, combining.”
Follow AdweekMedia senior editor Lucia Moses on Twitter @lmoses.