News Corp announces widespread layoffs at The Daily

Sun, Aug 5, 2012


This past February, Apple and Rupert Murdoch introduced an iPad only publication called The Daily.

“New times demand new journalism,” Murdoch said during the product announcement. “So we built The Daily completely from scratch — on the most innovative device to come about in my time — the iPad.”

Seeking to inject some new blood into an otherwise old medium, The Daily incorporates a plethora of multimedia content and touch interaction to deliver an immersive newspaper experience. Priced at just $0.99 a week, or $39.99 for an annual subscription, The Daily won’t break your wallet and the intention was clearly to rake in the cash on volume sales.

But things don’t often go as planned.

In May of 2011, News Corp president explained that they had already lost about $10 million on the app. At the time, many of those loses could be traced back to one-time investments needed to get everything up and running, so the optimists among us thought that greener pastures lied ahead.

But more than 12 months later, things don’t seem to have been turned around just yet.

Last week it was announced that News Corp will be letting go of about 50 of its 170 staff members as the subscription-based paper continues its struggle to stay profitable. That’s almost a third of its entire staff.

According to All Things D, which first broke the news, the paper’s editorial and sports pages will be affected the hardest by the layoffs though they will still continue to exist, albeit in a thinned out fashion.

In addition to the layoffs, The Daily will try to save money in other ways. For instance, it will no longer create digital pages that work in both vertical and horizontal layouts, and will produce only vertical pages from now on.

But people familiar with the paper’s plans say it isn’t changing other parts of its strategy, including a recent move to produce a weekend edition.

The Daily also issued a press release on the matter which you can check out after the break.

The Daily Announces Content Changes, Staff Reorganization

New York, NY, July 31, 2012 – The Daily, News Corp’s daily national news publication built exclusively for tablets and touchscreen devices, today announced content and personnel changes at the publication designed to streamline its production, focus resources on its most popular features, and reflect the changing business environment for news and media.

The implemented changes to The Daily include the following:

Ø A total of 50 full-time employees, 29 percent of the full-time staff, will be released.

Ø The Sports and Opinion sections, which saw the lightest traffic, are being reorganized. Sports reporting will now be provided by content partners, like Fox Sports, while existing features like photo galleries and the ability to track favorite teams via a customizable sports page will remain. The Daily will no longer have a standalone Opinion section. Opinion pieces and editorials will appear in the news pages, clearly marked, from time to time as appropriate.

Ø The Daily will move to a portrait-only orientation – the mode in which the vast majority of its readers view content – though video will still be viewable in landscape mode.

Ø The Daily will continue to invest in the content its readers use the most: original reporting, strong visual elements, great photography and video, award-winning design, infographics, and interactivity. These are the features that continue to make The Daily unique and that have seen heaviest traffic; they will make up a greater percentage of each edition going forward.

“These are important changes that will allow The Daily to be more nimble editorially and to focus on the elements that our readers have told us through their consumption that they like and want,” said Editor-in-Chief Jesse Angelo. “Unfortunately, these changes have forced us to make difficult decisions and to say goodbye to some colleagues who have worked hard to make The Daily successful. These moves were driven by the needs of the business. The Daily is the first of its kind, and it remains the best of its class. We are still in the infancy of this innovative new media platform, but we have delivered excellent content, steadily increasing readership, quality reporting, and award-winning design. Our standards will not diminish as we move forward, nor will our enthusiasm for creating an outstanding daily digital publication.”

“We continue to believe in the future of tablet publications because we know the market for tablets and touchscreen devices will only expand,” said Publisher Greg Clayman. “As more and more people buy and use tablets in their daily lives, The Daily will grow with them. We have consistently remained one of the top-ranked paid news apps since our launch, we have steadily grown our subscriber base, and we have the world’s largest media and publishing company behind us. Like all good digital products, however, we must change and evolve to remain fresh, competitive and sustainable.”


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