Well, we knew that this was coming: The Daily, launched by News Corp in early 2011 with great fanfare as the world's first "iPad newspaper," will be folding this month. Almost two years. That's about right.
The Daily was, fundamentally, a bad idea from the start. It chose to limit its audience mainly to iPad owners, eschewing the wider internet; that turns out to have been premature. Its huge budget and lack of a cohesive news identity did not help matters. Though it was given ample resources by News Corp, and poached a long list of reporters from other New York publications, it never really developed much of a fan base. The writing was on the wall, and other cliches, once News Corp decided to spin off its publishing assets into their own unit. The Daily laid off 50 staffers this summer, and although some of those remaining felt that the ship had been stabilized, it was not to be. News Corp said in a press release this morning that Jesse Angelo, The Daily's editor, will become publisher of the NY Post, and that some of The Daily's staff will also move to the Post.
"From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation," Rupert Murdoch said in the press release. "Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term." Assuming that the business model he's referring to is "throw tens of millions of dollars into creating a large and bloated staff and then severely limit your audience on purpose," he's quite right. That does not mean that online-only publishing operations cannot be wildly successful. It just means that they can't be willed into existence by an old media mogul.