The Daily, a digital-only news publication championed by News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, is laying off nearly a third of its staff.
In cutting 50 of the roughly 170 employees at The Daily, the publication plans to focus resources on its more popular features. It says the move reflects the “changing business environment for news and media.”
“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,” editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo said.
When The Daily was launched in January last year, News Corp executives predicted that it would cost US$30 million a year to run the publication. Yet more than a year later it had only about 100,000 subscribers who paid up to US$0.99 per week, and about 250,000 visitors each month. The publication also runs some advertisements.
The app is available on Apple Inc’s iPads and iPhones and tablet computers that use Google Inc’s Android system.
The reorganization at The Daily comes as News Corp makes plans to spin off its publishing assets, including The Daily, from the more profitable entertainment arm, which houses its TV assets such as Fox News Channel and movie studio 20th Century Fox.
The Daily will stop reporting on sports and instead use content from partners such as Fox Sports. The standalone Opinion section is also being scrapped.
“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,” a News Corp statement said.
It will also publish pages in the portrait format only, instead of horizontally as well, to reflect the preference of most readers.
“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,” Angelo said.
News Corp said the media conglomerate “remains committed” to The Daily and will keep it an important part of its publishing assets.
The layoffs at The Daily come as Murdoch reorganizes his empire following a telephone hacking scandal in Britain that saw his Sunday tabloid the News of the World close down and several former executives arrested.