NEW YORK — News Corp’s digital newspaper The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to reinvent daily news for the tablet age, will sack 29 percent of its staff and overhaul its format, the firm said Tuesday.
In all, 50 employees will leave the paper, which was launched 18 months ago. The paper was initially designed to work on Apple’s iPad tablet but now also appears on rival devices using the Android operating system.
It reportedly has around 100,000 paying subscribers, but the firm keeps the exact number close to its chest. Launching the paper, Murdoch said it would need to recruit around 500,000 readers a week to break even.
The revamp, including changes to the online paper’s sports and opinion sections, comes at a time when the daily news business in general and News Corps’ international stable of newspapers in particular have been in turmoil.
The company said the remaining 120 staff would run a streamlined version of the loss-making paper formatted for a tablet to be held vertically, dropping the former horizontal option.
“Sports reporting will now be provided by content partners,” it said, citing News Crops stablemate Fox Sports as a probable partner.
“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,” the News Corp statement added.
Editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo said: “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.”
“As more and more people buy and use tablets in their daily lives, The Daily will grow with them,” promised publisher Greg Clayman, boasting that the outfit had the backing of the world’s largest media and publishing company.
“Like all good digital products, however, we must change and evolve to remain fresh, competitive and sustainable.”
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.
The Australian-born mogul plans to split the successful entertainment side of his group from the publishing arm. Murdoch resigned from the boards of his remaining British print titles but stayed on as News Corp’s chairman.