10 Daily, which launched in 2018, employs 30 editors, writers and producers. Around 10 staff will be assigned to new roles.
“I think there was a false sense of security when CBS took us over,” said a staff member, referring to 10’s acquisition by US media giant ViacomCBS. “We thought they’d use their deep pockets to back 10Daily so we could ride out the pandemic.”
David Robinson, a former 10 journalist, told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald: “It’s a big operation. If those staff aren’t redeployed to other roles, there’ll be a big empty corner on level four of Pyrmont [in 10’s Sydney offices].”
“10 Daily has its own team of staff but people from other areas also contribute,” Robinson said. “You might have a journalist [from the 10 News First evening bulletin] write an article about a story they’ve been covering.”
The closure of 10 Daily does not affect the network’s subscription video service 10 All Access or its free video platform 10 Play.
In a statement, a network spokesman said: “Network 10’s digital media strategy is evolving to capitalise on our momentum and match the new ViacomCBS global operating model. That means an increased emphasis on streaming services and social media.
“Over the past two years, 10 Daily has established a strong presence and a loyal following, thanks to a passionate and hardworking team producing great content. We are grateful for their efforts to drive that success. As a result of the strategic change, however, 10 Daily will cease to exist as a standalone website.
“Some of the 10 Daily roles will remain. Some of the 10 Daily content will also transfer to 10 Play and our social media brands.”
The Project co-host Lisa Wilkinson, a former editor of Dolly and Cleo magazines, is 10 Daily’s editor-at-large while high-profile Sydney newsreader Sandra Sully is a consulting news editor.
The network announced last week that it would launch a new TV channel later this year, targeting viewers younger than 50 with a general entertainment offering.
“I’m surprised they closed 10 Daily just one week after that announcement,” one employee said. “I thought they would have used 10 Daily to cross-promote the new channel but I guess it was just too expensive to keep running.”
In April, 10 Daily attracted 4 million unique visitors. Network sources said the website had exceeded its traffic targets and grown its readership during the pandemic.
“But while audiences are getting bigger, the capacity to monetise them is drastically reduced,” an employee said. “A decline in revenue will of course outweigh any growth in view counts or readership It’s a problem facing most media companies right now”
Foxtel, Seven, Nine (the owner of this masthead), 10, the Australian Radio Network and Southern Cross Austereo have all cut costs – through redundancies or reduced working hours – to help offset the economic impact of the pandemic.
In an email to staff, executive vice president and chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said the closure was “part of our broader strategy” and not solely a reaction to recent events.
“Let me express my sincere thanks for all your hard work, dedication and professionalism during your time here,” McGarvey wrote. “We will fully support you during this period and I wish you all the very best for the future.”
One of the site’s senior reporters, Josh Butler, tweeted on Monday: “There will be a lot of people left without jobs – news, lifestyle and entertainment journalists; editors; video editors; social staff. They’re all guns.”
Michael Lallo is a senior culture writer at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.