from the about-time dept
Back in 2010 there was all sorts of buzz around News Corp. investing a ton of money into a “secret” project to launch an iPad-only paywalled publication called “the Daily.” Before it even launched, we explained why this was a bad idea that missed the point. We also highlighted Rupert Murdoch/News Corps’ long list of failed internet projects — with the large majority of them flopping because they were about trying to create “broadcast” style properties online, without recognizing that the internet is more of a communications (many-to-many) medium than a broadcast (one-to-many) medium. And, of course, soon after The Daily launched there was evidence that very few people cared.
To be honest, given all the bad press about how few people were reading it, combined with stories of staffers jumping ship soon after it was launched, I had kind of figured that The Daily had already been shut down. However, the latest news is that News Corp. is finally putting it out of its misery and shutting it down, giving most staffers 3 months severance. A few staffers are being folded into the NY Post:
News Corporation also announced that effective immediately, Jesse Angelo, the founding Editor-in-Chief of The Daily and long-time Executive Editor of The New York Post, will assume the role of Publisher of The New York Post. As part of a digital restructuring initiative, the company will cease standalone publication of The Daily iPad app on December 15, 2012, though the brand will live on in other channels. Technology and other assets from The Daily, including some staff, will be folded into The Post.
Mr. Murdoch said: “From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term…”
Apparently the site was losing $30 million a year.
Perhaps this should stand as a response to the people who insist that giving away newspaper content free online was “the original sin” of the industry and they should have focused on paywalls. Paywalls don’t help you build up “a large enough audience.” The link above quotes a reporter there saying: “It was a really cool, hip product. I think this is nothing more than bad timing.” I’d say it was much more of a bad model — both business model and delivery model — than “bad timing.”