Posted on | July 31, 2012 | 7 Comments
Being the Harvard roommate of Rupert Murdoch’s son is a great way to get ahead at NewsCorp. Murdoch agreed to invest $30 million in The Daily, with golden boy Jesse Angelo as editor.
The Daily, News Corp.’s attempt to create a digital newspaper for the iPad age, is laying off nearly a third of its staff.
The publisher plans to tell its workers today that it will fire 50 of its 170 employees, according to people familiar with The Daily’s plans.
The move comes 18 months after the tablet newspaper’s high-profile launch . . .
while Daily executives say they now have more than 100,000 paying subscribers for its iOS and Android editions, the paper hasn’t been able to live up to Murdoch’s expectations, and the money-losing publication has been under scrutiny since launch.
Do you really need $30 million and a staff of 170 people to run a Web site? Does Jesse Angelo really need a $23 mllion Upper East Side house? The multimillionaire editor offers some Harvard-educated words for readers without mentioning his soon-to-be-laid-off employees:
The Daily was born of change. A changing technological landscape — the beginning of the tablet and smartphone revolution — made us want to rethink how we create media. And we believe that a healthy product and a healthy organization is one that continues to change. We try to innovate every day in the content we bring you — blending words, pictures, video, animation, design, code and touch interactivity in a way that no one else does.
Yadda, yadda. How much of that $30 million has Jesse Angelo pissed away in the past 18 months to “innovate” with “interactivity”?
UPDATE: The New York Observer names names of staffers laid off by the golden boy’s $30 million iPad boondoggle, including a sports staffer who Tweeted: “Yep, first found about my own layoff via Twitter. I feel just like an MLB player!”
UPDATE II: The plight of The Daily “raises questions about the viability of digital-only publications,” writes Jeff Bercovici of Forbes:
If The Daily, which has consistently been among the top two or three apps in terms of gross revenue in the iTunes store since its launch, can’t make money, who can?
Oh, I dunno: Someone with fewer than 170 employees, maybe?
The New Media environment favors a lean-and-mean mode of operation, figuring out how to do more with less, maximizing the reader-value with an emphasis on flexibility and efficiency. More general-assignment writers, fewer specialized beats. Also, save a ton on “marketing” by hiring writers who understand the importance (and most effective means) of promoting their own work online.
UPDATE III: Vodkapundit figures The Daily’s high-concept project — a newspaper! on an iPad! — was a bad idea from the get-go. But nobody’s offering either or us $30 million to prove that that a bad idea is a bad idea, so we can be more objective, I suppose.