Newsweek underwent a big splashy redesign in late May in the hope that it could turn around the magazine’s sagging fortunes, but so far there hasn’t been a considerable bump in newsstand sales.
Newsweek sold an average of 66,702 copies off the newsstand in its first six weeks since the redesign versus the 66,533 issues that it averaged for the previous 18 issues in 2009, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Rapid Report.
More troubling, in the last four weeks that numbers are available, the magazine’s sales slid each week from 85,000 copies sold to 75,000 to 67,100 to 50,000. The ABC numbers are available through its June 29 issue.
The best-selling issue for the revamped magazine—and the second-best seller of the year—was the Oprah cover with the headline CRAZY TALK, which sold 85,000 copies. A cover on the Iranian elections, which didn’t look demonstrably different than the old Newsweek, was the worst seller out of the bunch, with 50,000 copies sold.
A Newsweek spokesman, Frank DeMaria, said he disagreed that magazine sales have been flat when compared to how sales are down across the industry.
“We feel internally that we’ve had [a bump],” he said. “If we’re down in June 5 percent year on year, and others are down substantially more than that, we feel the relaunch is doing well.”
He pointed to The Economist, which he said is down more than 20 percent year-over-year in the month of June.
He also said that the Michael Jackson cover, which appeared three weeks ago, is expected to do far better than average.
At the same time, over the last two weeks, Newsweek‘s covers with Ted Kennedy and Eric Holder, like the Iran cover, did not have that same fresh feel as the Oprah cover did.
We’ll continue to watch closely.