Mickey Kaus over at his new blog on The Daily Caller points out that newsweek.com traffic has suffered since the acquisition by The Daily Beast. Kaus thinks its bad business to kill off a valuable web brand like Newsweek instead of milking the name recognition and traffic for all it’s worth. I think he’s probably right about that, but I’d give it a few more months before drawing big conclusions. Quantcast data isn’t all that reliable.
Just look at Newsweek’s 1-year chart. If you’d looked at Newsweek’s 6-month graph early last summer, you might have concluded that the business was falling apart catastrophically as well. In reality, it seems like it must have been some sort of measurement error on Quantcast’s part.
It’s a bit early to tell whether the last 3-6 month trend is more permanent. Alexa data suggests that it might be something more real than the last move. Alexa didn’t register the big Quantcast drop from last summer at all (one of the reasons I suspect it was a measurement error by Quantcast). This time, the Alexa chart is down as well. It doesn’t look great for the Newsweek web brand at this point.
But let’s hold off a bit before jumping to the conclusion that Tina Brown is killing it off. As long as they don’t run too many stale pieces about Hillary Clinton, they may yet salvage something.
Also, none of the graphs support Kaus’ implication that The Daily Beast has killed Newsweek traffic intentionally. After all, both sets of data show the downward trend beginning before the acquisition. Web news readers are a pretty fickle crowd, and Newsweek.com was a declining platform anyway. Not sure Tina Brown really could have saved it if she’s wanted to.