Fairly fresh from losing over $500m on MySpace, News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch has now closed The Daily, his much-trumpeted iPad newspaper.
Rupert says: “From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. 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. Therefore we will take the very best of what we have learned at The Daily and apply it to all our properties.”
Which means absolutely nothing, apart from the fact The Daily hasn’t worked.
In any other media business shareholders would be clamouring for the chairman and CEO to step down but the Murdoch family, of course, own a majority of the voting shares in News Corp so there’s no point.
No-one seems to know how much The Daily has lost but it’s the latest in a series of blows for the Murdoch empire: MySpace (sold for about $30m, although everybody’s forgotten that now), phone-hacking and the closure of the News of the World, the aborted bid for the whole of BSkyB and, most recently, ructions at News Corp’s new spun-off print and publishing business as UK boss Tom Mockridge has stomped off in a huff after the top job went to the Wall Street Journal’s Robert Thomson.
News Corp still makes buckets of money of course, chiefly from the Fox and Sky broadcast empires, both of which testify to Murdoch’s vision. But those decisions were taken about 20 years ago.
Surely even Rupert Murdoch, aged 81, must realise that world has moved on – but he hasn’t.