Ziff Davis Media announced that it was ending print publication of its 27-year-old flagship PC Magazine and would take the title online-only.
It is the latest of several magazine publishers to drop a print edition, as advertising plummets and the cost of printing a paper version rises.
"The viability for us to continue to publish in print just isn't there anymore," Jason Young, chief executive of Ziff Davis, said. However, while most magazines make most of their money from print advertising, PC Magazine derives most of its profits from its website. More than 80% of the profit and about 70% of the revenue come from the digital business, Young said, and all of the writers and editors have been counted as part of the digital budget for two years.
The change will not require much of an adjustment, because the focus has been on getting stories to the Web first, said Lance Ulanoff, the editor of the PCMag Digital Network, which is what PCMag.com and its accompanying websites were renamed. "All content goes online first, and print has been cherry-picking for some time what it wants for the print edition," Ulanoff said.
Circulation at PC Magazine had been declining since the late 1990s, when it hit a peak of 1.2 million. This year, the magazine's rate base was 600,000.
Young said that while the print magazine would be profitable in 2008, he had forecast that it would lose money in 2009 because of fewer advertisements and rising costs. The final print edition will be the January 2009 issue. "Obviously, the macroeconomic condition is putting pretty significant pressure on all forms of advertising," Young said.
Seven production, circulation and advertising employees will be cut as a result of the move, out of a total of about 140 who work on PC Magazine and PCMag.com.
Other publishers have also moved publications online-only.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a small publication that was established in 1945 and won a National Magazine Award last year, recently announced it would go online-only beginning in January. "We're trying to deal with the cost pressures," said Jonas Siegel, the Bulletin's editor in an interview.
The Christian Science Monitor announced in October that it would cease printing its paper weekday edition and appear online only.
Â—NY Times / Stephanie Clifford