Unable to meet the challenges of daily newspaper publishing, and in an attempt to stem group losses of a reported $50M from 2009 to 2014, WWD is canceling its century-old daily tabloid on April 29th. The move comes as no surprise to the fashion world, which has seen the paper lose advertising and subscribers and leaving its glory days behind in the 20th century. Penske Media acquired Fairchild from Condé Nast in 2014, while Condé held onto fashion’s digital crown jewel, Style.com. “In recent years, WWD’s dominance has slipped as more creative and digitally savvy online rivals like Style.com, New York magazine’s The Cut and The Business of Fashion challenge its pre-eminence,” The New York Times wrote last year. For those not yet born when WWD had its golden era, the publication launched in 1910 and hit its snarky, scoop-filled, society-focused pinnacle in the 1960s and 1970s under the leadership of John Fairchild.
Having cancelled WWD as a print daily, new owner automotive heir Jay Penske is trying to revive the brand digitally, and hang onto print with a weekly version of the tabloid, much the same model he has employed when he acquired Variety as a distressed property in October 2012. Variety now lags behind the much more buoyant entertainment industry competition, The Hollywood Reporter. Penske was also recently credited with ousting Nikki Finke from Deadline, the Hollywood blog that was, during her reign, the industry must-read. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter has trumped Variety’s subscribers in print as well as its web traffic, the latter of which hit an epic 17.1 million monthly unique visitors in October 2014.