The news that broke Thursday that founder Tina Brown is parting ways with the Daily Beast likely came as a blow to some staffers and a relief to others. But what has to be deeply unsettling to all staffers is that as of right now, Barry Diller, whose IAC owns the Daily Beast, is refusing to promise that the publication will still be publishing after October:
Diller’s announcement to Daily Beast staffers did not calm the waters. In a memo to staff Thursday, Diller said, “Yesterday’s rushed announcement of Tina Brown’s resignation wasn’t at all what had been intended.”
Diller … insisted the decision to exit had been Brown’s.
“Tina Brown had told me more than month ago that she didn’t wish to continue as editor in chief of the Daily Beast. We had agreed to announce this sometime during the month of September and were on course to do so.”
But while he threw in the obligatory line or two praising her great work, he then dropped the bombshell announcement that insiders had been fearing.
ComScore has put the website’s unique visitors under six million a month at a time when most media buyers demand 10 to 20 million uniques to grab their attention.
“I can’t make promises for the future, but I’m hopeful we can continue to publish the Beast with as much energy, verve and moment[um] as Tina gave us,” said Diller in the memo. “What I can promise is that we will come to a conclusion by the first week of October.”
That happens to be budget planning time for IAC, the publicly traded, cash-rich parent company that includes Match.com, CollegeHumor and Ask.com.
It probably doesn’t help that around this same budget planning time a year ago, was when Diller unveiled his plan to stop printing a weekly paper edition of Newsweek at year end.
With much fanfare, the Daily Beast launched in October of 2008. This year the publication is expected to lose upwards of $20 million.
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