By: Gigaom
February 12, 2013 at 19:11 PM EST
New Republic has 45,000 subscribers, Twitter better than Facebook for news — Chris Hughes
Chris Hughes is young, wealthy and now owns a venerable but struggling magazine. Does he have a plan to make money from it? Right now, it appears he doesn't care about the financial side of publishing.

When multi-millionaire and former Facebook executive Chris Hughes bought the struggling New Republic last year, critics were quick to dismiss the purchase as a rich man’s folly.

Speaking at the Dive into Media conference on Tuesday, the 29-year-old Hughes spoke about the state of the magazine but offered no clear answers to questions about its future profitability.

According to Hughes, the New Republic has 45,000 subscribers which is up from the 38,000 when he bought it; despite the small number, he said “for the moment, we make money in print” but acknowledged the operation is not making money overall.

“I think we can be profitable, not this year, probably not next year, but there’s a route to it,” said Hughes.

Hughes and fellow panelist USA Today’s Larry Kramer also praised traditional news brands as curators and a source of conversation.

In short, Hughes didn’t appear to have any solid answers about how he will make money from the New Republic — but for now he doesn’t seem to care and appears happy to embrace what host Kara Swisher described as his “do-gooder” and “Linoln-y”mission.

Hughes did address the role of social media for publishers, saying it brings in 25 percent of website traffic. He also noted that is former employer is not especially helpful for spreading stories.

“Facebook has an interesting challenge when it comes to newsfeed products. They tend to reward images rather than links and the sort of journalism we do. It means we spend more time about Twitter.”

(What to learn more about monetization strategies for content? Come join us at the paidContent Live conference in New York on April 17).


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