Monday, October 11, 2010

Newsweek sniffs out Daily Beast's Brown

There have been prominent WashPost and Newsweek links on the Daily Beast website since its launch two years ago, and now that the nation's number two news magazine, Newsweek, has changed hands for only a dollar to a deep-pockets owner willing to take on its debts, the redoubtable Ms Brown of the Daily Beast may soon up for double editorial duties and double exposure. She's always been more a features gal than a breaking news buff, so it will be fun to watch her later trajectory. The supposed rivalry between her and Arianna Huffington, the other aggregate cyber siren, has been satirized on Arianna's website.
Hat tip to Romenesko, via NY Times and WS Journal for the following story:

As speculation continues about a merger between The Daily Beast, the news and opinion Web site financed by Barry Diller, and Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal reports that the likelihood of a deal is increasing.

The Journal, citing people familiar with the discussions, said as part of the deal currently being discussed by the two companies, Tina Brown, The Daily Beast’s co-founder and co-owner, would become the editor of Newsweek, on top of her existing editorial duties at the Web site.

Speculation about a possible tie-up between the two companies resurfaced last week after Howard Kurtz, a three-decade veteran of The Washington Post, announced he was leaving to join The Daily Beast. Industry watchers suggested that Newsweek would provide a more logical home for Mr. Kurtz’s work given his long tenure as a print reporter.

However, the newspaper said that Sidney Harman, the audio equipment magnate who bought Newsweek in August, may be concerned about issues of control:

People familiar with Mr. Harman’s thinking said he may be wary of handing the reins to a strong-willed editor who also answers to another boss—Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive of Daily Beast owner IAC/InterActive Corp.

Newsweek, which Mr. Harman bought from The Washington Post Company for $1, lost almost $30 million last year amid circulation and advertising declines.

Meanwhile, The Daily Beast, which averages 4.6 million visitors a month, is expected to lose about $10 million this year, The Journal said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

However, The Daily Beast executives say the portal is on its way to becoming profitable in two years, according to the Journal.

Last week, in a piece marking The Daily Beast’s second anniversary, Ms. Brown responded to the buzz about a deal with Newsweek by saying: “Yes, there have been some interesting discussions going on, as we have with potential partners large and small all the time.”

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