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Unnamed sources tell the Times’ Amy Chozick that The Daily is “on probation” as executives decide what to do with the iPad-only publication, estimated to be losing $30 million a year. The news comes a couple of weeks after News Corp. announced that it will split its publishing business from the more lucrative entertainment operations.
One person close to News Corporation said to expect several smaller ventures like The Daily to come under scrutiny in the coming weeks, as executives and consultants analyze how to best establish a healthy publishing arm.
The Daily editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo tells his staff to ignore the “misinformed, untrue rumors of our imminent demise. He chalks it up to professional jealousy:
Since before we launched, our dear friends at competing media outlets have done their best to wish us ill and gleefully ‘report’ on what they think is going on here. The truth is we have over 100,000 paying subs who are renewing their subscriptions at a 98% rate and fantastic advertisers who love our brand and keep coming back for more because they get results. Pay attention to them, not the haters.
This is the truth about the modern media business - all outlets, including the ones writing about us, are under pressure to prove themselves as businesses. We are no exception, and to be sure, we will need to continue to evolve, adapt and change in order to compete and be successful. As something new and different, we are an easy target for erroneous wishful thinking. But make no mistake, we will be nimble and we will compete.
At its one-year anniversary in February, The Daily had 100,000 paid subscribers, well short of the 500,000 it would need to break even. My colleague Jeff Sonderman wrote that it “may have suffered more from overinflated expectations than from the publication’s own execution.” In January, a business development executive suggested that the publication had launched too soon.
Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan writes that The Daily was always a bad idea because it limited its audience to iPad owners and even further to people who would pay for it.
The entire premise of The Daily is two huge steps backwards from currently accepted media standards. It’s as if a movie studio declared that they were launching a silent film division, which would only be shown at drive-ins.
The company will assess the publication after the November election, writes the New York Observer’s Kat Stoeffel, citing an unnamed source.
But she also reported that The Daily is launching a new weekend magazine called WKND, which “appears to be a cross between the Huffington Post’s feature app, Huffington. and The Wall Street Journal‘s magazine supplement, WSJ.”
WKND, she wrote, “will give a longer shelf life to expensive and high quality stories that would previously disappear as the app was refreshed each day.”