Away with Print, onto Digital

Posted on 11/16/2010 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

In a memo to his staff, Brian Kelly, editor of U.S. News & World Report recently announced that the December issue of the monthly magazine will be the last printed on paper. Beginning in 2011, the publication will go entirely digital. Initially, the magazine will only be available on the Internet, where it currently has an average unique audience of over 9 million. The company is also committed to “developing content for emerging platforms, such as iPad and Android tablets.”

Before the end of the year, Rupert Murdock plans to launch The Daily, an electronic newspaper that will only be available on tablets. The price of this app will be $1 a week. Compare that with about $5.70 a week for the print version of the Washington Post and $11.70 for The New York Times. It may make sense for newspaper customers to buy a couple tablets. Of course, a lot depends on the quality of the content but with such a price differential, there is a big incentive for consumers to examine digital.

For decades U.S. News & World Report was a weekly magazine, but in 2008 it began transitioning to digital. First, it reduced the frequency of its print edition to biweekly and later to monthly. The company expects to continue to print a few special single-topic issues each year on popular subjects like history and religion. In addition, U.S. News will continue to print its popular annual guides on colleges, hospitals and personal finance.

The U.S. News Web site currently has six channels: politics and policy, education, money, health, auto and travel. Each is a fully formed business unit. By working both in the vertical channels and horizontally across them, the company has diversified its revenue beyond display advertising to include e-commerce products, lead generation, licensing and other sources.

One of the problems with electronic information delivery is that customers have tended to expect that everything delivered on the Internet will be free. Publishers are encouraged by the fact that customers seem willing to pay for information when it is delivered on tablets. Murdock believes that The Daily can be profitable venture with a circulation of 800,000.

Photographers should follow these developments closely and recognize that as publications move to digital delivery there will be a much greater demand for multimedia and video presentation that include sound and less demand for still images. Now is the time to develop the skills necessary to meet this new demand.

Copyright © Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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