Billionaire Michael Ferro just bought the New York Daily News for $1.
The Daily News used to sell 2.5 million copies daily and 3.5 million on Sundays during the 1950s. Now, it sells just over 200,000 copies daily. Tronc, the publishing company that Ferro runs, will take control of the Daily News’s operations, its printing plant in Jersey City and its pension liability, according to Vanity Fair.
Ferro has a slim track record of “competitive and editorial success with his papers so far, especially on the digital side,” according to Vanity Fair. But he “deserves to be a media baron.” He had media properties in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Can he do anything with the Daily News that previous owner Mort Zuckerman could not? That remains to be seen. But the biggest challenge in on the digital side.
Ferro had big plans for the Los Angeles Times as well, saying in one of his few interviews with the Chicago Tribune that the LA Times “has an opportunity to be bigger than the New York Times.” He wanted it to become an international force and open bureaus worldwide. He also said in an interview on CNBC that he planned to produce 2,000 videos a day. According to Vanity Fair, none of that has happened.
So with all his talk about revolutionizing newspapers, will he actually do it with the Daily News? He will have to go beyond just cost-cutting techniques or moving money from one of part of the budget to another, according to Vanity Fair.
He will have to get people to pay for digital subscriptions for “high-quality content they cannot get anywhere else.” It will take more, and better, personnel on both the editorial and business sides, according to Vanity Fair. The Daily News needs a new strategy, tactics, and investment that “go beyond further facile consolidation.”
Read the full piece in Vanity Fair for more.
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