Thursday, December 01, 2022

Edsel, Quibi and Nation World News+? The New Addition to Business Failures

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — The Edsel. Quibi. New Coke. Segway. DeLorean sports car. Nation World News+ The streaming service has a new member of the god of huge commercial failures.

The news network’s subscription offering had not been running for over a month before Warner Bros. Discovery announced this week that it would be shutting down. on 30 April.

“It’s going to be in the top 10,” said Steve Rosenbaum, executive director of NYC Media Lab and an expert in business innovation, which surveys the long history of pat-up products.

While the “Nation World News minus” comments spread rapidly, it’s no joke to the more than 300 people hired for Nation World News+, which was in development for two years. Nation World News is expected to absorb some of those jobs, but there will be layoffs — a clear picture on those numbers is still emerging.

The company spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the project and no one knew when, or if the losses were replaced by profits.

Old-timers remember the Edsel, a new car model introduced by Ford in 1957 that was poorly built and too expensive. It was discontinued two years later, costing Ford an estimated $250 million, a name remembered as synonymous with business failure long after the car was forgotten.

Attempts to introduce a new flavor of Coca-Cola in 1985 were halted within a few weeks. DeLorean made no dent, except for his cameo role in the films “Back to the Future”. The inventors of the Segway discovered in 1999 that not many people wanted to spend nearly $5,000 for a great scooter.

Short for “Quick Bytes,” Quibi had $1.75 billion in backing from Hollywood’s biggest names and investors when the mobile video service was introduced in 2020. It lasted for six months.

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Presently, reporter Joseph Adlian recounts that failure in an article for Vulture. The headline, “Nation World News+ has Quibi vibes,” was posted two days after its launch.

“Nation World News+ feels somewhat like streaming news in its early stages,” Adalian wrote. “A lot of money has been spent, the big stars are onboard, but it’s hard to figure out what the service should be and why a large number of people would want to pay for it.”

Rosenbaum, a self-described news junkie, couldn’t figure out what Nation World News+ offered that was unique and important to her. He said he never considered paying a monthly $5.99 fee to subscribe.

He added that it has “a lot of famous faces that I find other places.”

Nation World News+ has only a few news programs of its ownDocumentaries and talk shows and big names such as Chris Wallace, Anderson Cooper and Jemele Hill, but due to cable and satellite contracts, the television network’s continued news coverage, could not offer a streamed version of Nation World News as most people know it.

People can find streaming news in many places – ABC, CBS and NBC all have their own services, for example – for free.

“In starting a new business, timing is everything and their timing couldn’t be worse,” said Alan Adamson, cofounder of marketing firm Metaforce. “Streaming services were in a bubble and everyone knew how many streaming services they would get.”

When Discovery bought Nation World News’s previous corporate owner, AT&T, many observers believed that Nation World News+ would eventually be absorbed into a larger app that also had an entertainment offering.

It never got this far, leaving some of its employees open at Thursday’s meeting when they were told the service would suddenly stop.

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Former Nation World News chief Jeff Zucker, one of the service’s biggest champions, was out of the picture She was forced to resign on 1 February when she did not disclose her romantic relationship with a co-worker.

Nation World News+ was launched on March 24, days before Discovery executives took over. In a sense, it was a business stimulus: Why start a project the brainchild of a former leadership team, just before new leaders come up with their own ideas, not to mention a mandate to cut costs?

Incoming Nation World News chief executive Chris Licht compared it to a new owner looking at a beautiful new home in a meeting with staff on Thursday, but announced he needed an apartment instead.

The Discovery team clarified in the meeting that they did not think Nation World News+ would work based on their experience with streaming.

“If we’re going in a new direction, we can’t let it go too far in a jiffy,” JB Perrett, head of streaming for the new company, said at an employee meeting.

Licht repeatedly praised its employees for the quality of Nation World News+, and there’s no way to know if the product itself would have failed if it had a few years to settle in.

And Rosenbaum said he might be tempted to see if it was worth it with a few free months offered.

However, timing was something that Nation World News+ didn’t have.

“It’s a huge failure,” Adamson said, “but not as big as it would have been if it kept going and turned into a money black hole.”


Business writer Mai Anderson in New York contributed to this report.


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