Updated 1:45 p.m. PST
A day after Barry Diller's media firm IAC/InterActiveCorp took a majority stake in Newsweek Daily Beast, the billionaire mogul hinted that its flagship newsweekly may soon go online-only.
During a conference call to discuss IAC's second quarter financials, Diller said the media landscape had changed dramatically and he hoped industry professionals would soon embrace the irreversible shift.
"Over time, at some point, digital will replace most of print," a spokeswoman for Diller told TheWrap afterward, adding that there is no concrete plan to discontinue Newsweek's print edition. "[Diller] does believe digital with replace print."
IAC took control of the majority stake of Tina Brown's news site and its acquired legacy magazine on Tuesday after the estate of billionaire Sidney Harman, a long-time benefactor, backed out of bankrolling the company.
"The brand is good," Diller said. "What's the problem? The problem is manufacturing and producing a weekly newsmagazine. That's going to have to be solved. Advertising in this category is entirely elective. The transition will happen. I'm not saying it will happen totally. But the transition to online from hard print will take place."
Brown, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast and Newsweek, sent a memo to employees Wednesday assuring them that the newsweekly would not go digital in September, as had been widely reported. Media blogger Jim Romenesko obtained a copy of the email.
"He made the uncontroversial, industry-wide observation that print is moving in the direction of digital," she wrote on her way to Aspen for an event with former financier and current board member, Jane Harman. Harman is the widow of Sidney Harman and a former congresswoman from California.
A spokeswoman for the company said they hope to have a strategic plan, which they will begin tweaking this fall, complete by September or October 2013.
Diller also said his investment in the Beast will be "considerably less" than it is this year. The company will reportedly lose up to $30 million this year. It earned $30 million in 2007.
The media group, founded as an internet company in 1995, owns a host of other digital media properties, including Aereo, an online television streaming service that retransmits broadcast signals and has faced legal challenges.
In the wake of a fresh lawsuit by a group of major television broadcasters, Diller said he hoped the plaintliffs would understand that, despite the extra revenue gained from granting retransmission consent, they had to catch up with technology.
"Broadcasters ought to cheer us because we are essentially adding audience," Diller said.
IAC also announced its second quarter finances, which included a 40 percent growth of its revenue to $680.6 million.
By Wednesday afternoon, stock prices for the company were up 6.23 percent, to $51.30.