“Rupert gave up”

Jack Shafer:

To place The Daily venture in scale, the last attempt to start a national, general-interest print newspaper from the ground up—USA Today—lost $600 million over the course of a decade before turning its first profit in 1994. (In today’s money, that’s more than $1 billion.) The National, the national sports daily, lost $150 million (about $250 million, corrected for inflation) in 18 months before closing in June 1991. In the late 1990s, when Murdoch was trying to crash the China satellite TV market, he had invested $2 billion and was losing $2 million a week according to his former right-hand man in that enterprise. So, please, let’s not obsess too much over Murdoch’s squandering of $30 million a year on a failed experiment. In the history of journalistic bets, this was a trivial gamble.

  • Murdoch needs more failures.

  • The big difference, IMHO, is those other industries have high overhead. A digital magazine, I assume, has very little overhead in comparison. Consider printing and distribution being their biggest expense (again…assumption) aside from employees, 30M over a year is a failure.

    This isn’t the 80’s or 90’s. It is 2012 and digital publications, apps, etc operate in a different world.

    • Going through my RSS feed and see Gruber nailed it: http://daringfireball.net/2012/12/why_the_daily_failed.

      That’s an expansion of my thoughts. In summation, which was my point, he concludes: “The Daily’s problem was simply that they weren’t conceived to operate on $5 or $6 million per year in revenue. A smarter, smaller team could.”

  • An employee has spoken now: http://gizmodo.com/5965193/.