12:34 pm Jul. 13, 2012
The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.
What began as a two-line nugget buried in a New York Observer item about the death of News Corp.'s internal wire service has ballooned into a big burst of media intrigue.
First reported Wednesday by the Observer's Kat Stoeffel and confirmed late last night by The New York Times' Amy Chozick: News Corp.'s ambitious tablet publication, The Daily, is now "on probation and at a crossroads while the company reconsidered whether it could turn around losses that were estimated at roughly $30 million a year."
The Daily launched in early 2011 to great fanfare from company chairman Rupert Murdoch, an iPad enthusiast who opened his coffers to build up the publication's large and well-bylined editorial staff because he believed tablet titles would become a key component of the future of news.
Even though The Daily fell short of the subscriber totals it was hoping for and often found itself drowned out of the national conversation because its stories could not be easily found online, executives have maintained that it's been on course to break even within five years.
"It's going great," said editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo during an Internet Week event in May, noting The Daily's third-place finish on the App Store's list of top-grossing paid apps for 2011, its roughly 100,000 paid subscribers and its 250,000 unique monthly users.
Of course that was before News Corp. made the watershed decision to split up its entertainment and publishing brands, the latter of which many shareholders view as a drag on the the company's overall profits. Analysts have predicted cuts would be necessary at the lower-performing publishing assets once they were spun off into a separate publicly-traded company.
And so it goes that The Daily is now being eyed as a potentially expendable enterprise.
Predictably, the skeptics have piled on.
"The real reason 'The Daily' has had a tough time gaining traction is not that it's a bad publication (It isn't--it has produced some excellent work)," wrote Business Insider's Henry Blodget. "It's that it is but one of hundreds of publications that are essentially trying to do exactly the same thing. And the world just doesn't need another one of those publications, at least not one that readers have to pay for."
And on Gawker today, Hamilton Nolan writes: "It was a bad idea from the start. And it probably won't be around a whole lot longer. If you work at The Daily, now would be a good time to run."
UPDATE: The Daily appears to be unfazed by all of the chatter. A press release just landed in our inbox promoting the launch of a new weekend section called "WKND" that debuts tomorrow.
“WKND is a great testament to The Daily’s position as a fully original, multi-platform publication,” said publisher Greg Clayman in a statement. “The section showcases high-level design and interactivity, giving us unique opportunities for storytelling and user engagement. Being accessible to readers across all platforms has always been a top priority, and we’re looking forward to broadening our presence in the mobile space.”
In other news...
Celeb mags got a boost from the TomKat split. [The New York Post]
A print-digital integration is underway at Conde Nast. [W.W.D.]
The staggering cost of the Variety acquisition. [paidContent]
An Adweek writer is catching heat for an "over the line" tweet about Neil Cavuto, whom he described as having a "weird, dwarfish Irish-Italian dick." [The Daily Caller]
Anderson Cooper has sold his midtown pad. [The New York Observer]
Jim Windolf's second issue of Punch is live. [W.W.D.]
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