NBCU Ditches One-Time Web Darling DailyCandy

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Just months after giving iVillage notice, NBCUniversal is ditching DailyCandy and Television Without Pity.

“DailyCandy and Television Without Pity were groundbreaking businesses when they launched more than a decade ago,” NBCU said in a statement. Today, however, they “are no longer viable businesses for our company.”

Unlike iVillage, which NBCU said would live on as part of Today.com, DailyCandy and Television Without Pity will cease any and all operations on April 4.

A company spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the rationale behind the move -- first reported by Re/Code -- but mediocre traffic numbers likely factored into the equation.

This February, Television Without Pity’s domestic audience was down to 100,000 unique visitors from 173,000 in February 2013, according comScore. Year-over-year, DailyCandy’s monthly audience was actually up from 467,000 to 613,000 -- but apparently not enough for NBCU executives. (At its peak, DailyCandy’s newsletter also reached millions of inboxes, but comScore does not track those figures.)

The shutdowns are expected to affect nearly 70 employees, but NBCU declined to address their fates on Friday.

For analysts, DailyCandy’s downfall represents the end of an era for Web publishers — and a clear warning for those that fail to continually innovate. 

“It was fun … it was different, and for a while everyone talked about it,” Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester, said Friday. “But the audience moved on, new products launched to meet that market, and DailyCandy suffered the consequences.”  

“In our fast-moving digital publishing environment, a product either continuously evolves and hopes that evolution reflects changing consumer expectations or dies,” added Bidel.

The news further calls into question NBCU’s digital investment strategy. Comcast’s media unit invested north of $600 million and over seven years into the ill-fated iVillage.

NBCU’s Bravo unit picked up Television Without Pity in 2007 for an undisclosed sum, and in 2008, NBCU paid Bob Pittman's Pilot Group $125 million for DailyCandy. Following Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal in 2011, DailyCandy became part of NBCU's Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media division.

DailyCandy’s demise was not for lack of trying. Along with a steady flow of brand partnerships, and product initiatives, NBCU brought in Alison Moore to breathe new life into the property in late 2012. Formerly senior vice president of digital products at HBO, Moore was expected to reinvent DailyCandy across all digital channels as its executive vice president and general manager.

DailyCandy’s fate also raises questions about the value of publishers’ social media presence. Currently, the property has about 950,000 followers on Twitter, roughly 64,000 Pinterest followers, north of 390,000 friends on Facebook, and nearly 13,000 fans on Instagram.

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6 comments about "NBCU Ditches One-Time Web Darling DailyCandy".
  1. Bill Blinstrub from BB3 Media Planing , March 28, 2014 at 4:27 p.m.
    Very Sad to see Daily Candy go. I remember it like yesterday the first time they called me to advertise. Great people, great concept, and a great partner every time I worked with them on a project. I wish them all the best of luck.
  2. Brian Stemmler from Stemmler Productions , March 28, 2014 at 5:23 p.m.
    I worked at LXTV back in the early days of Daily Candy in LA and it was a hot property! We were constantly using them as a resource to find the latest trend...I thought for sure Daily Candy would become a huge property. I'm stunned.
  3. Katy Schamberger from Self-employed , March 28, 2014 at 5:27 p.m.
    It's not immediately clear from this story whether or not email analytics played a role in the decision, but the note that comScore doesn't track those figures is a huge red flag. A large part of Daily Candy's business model was tied to its email newsletters, and surely reaching "millions of inboxes" wasn't a feat that was easily dismissed by NBCU execs. If digital properties aren't being properly tracked, measured and analyzed, it doesn't matter how much you innovate -- there's no solid foundation on which to build any sort of strategic metrics, much less any sort of substantial information with which to make sweeping business decisions. All the best to the Daily Candy team -- you created an amazing product and I hope you find continued (and more) success elsewhere.
  4. Greg Davis from MBMG Media Group , March 28, 2014 at 5:50 p.m.
    Daily Candy was hugely successful in its own right, particularly as it delivered well curated content to the user based on selects. The brand secured an unbelievable level of loyalty on this attribute alone which, in turn, provided a perfect environment for an advertiser intending to be part of this halo. Over time as this space has become saturated with daily deals, social media notifications, guidebooks like LAist and the like it is easy to see why Daily Candy’s model just couldn’t stay current and unique.
  5. Becky Ebenkamp from Idsville , March 31, 2014 at 4:21 p.m.
    While Daily Candy may have more impressive numbers, the casual castoff of TWOP seems the bigger story here. That right there was a site that wrapped insightful information in compelling copy and engaged fans in lively, highly social forums. In other words, the kind of stuff marketers wet themselves for.
  6. Stan Valinski from Multi-Media Solutions Group , April 2, 2014 at 12:16 a.m.
    It still amazes me that these highly educated, intelligent people that are hired to manage digital investment and content creation just don't fathom the cyclical nature of the media business.