DailyCandy, Television Without Pity to Shut Down Next Week

Former investor argues 'a brand is a terrible thing to waste'

DailyCandy and Television Without Pity are headed to the Internet graveyard next week.

Today's sudden announcement wasn’t only surprising for fans of the lifestyle and television news staples. One DailyCandy editor told Adweek that she was “in shock” over the news.

According to Re/Code, owner NBCUniversal tried to sell both online publications, but didn’t have any luck. Sixty-seven employees are affected by the shutdown, but they may—with a huge caveat—be offered jobs at other NBCU properties. Their content will be saved digitally by the parent company, but readers won't have access to DailyCandy's unique city suggestions or TWoP's snarky recaps and commentary. 

Trigger Media founder and former DailyCandy investor Andy Russell said that he was astonished by the news.

“This was one of my true babies for many years. As I’ve been saying, a brand is a terrible thing to waste,” said Russell.

DailyCandy was founded in 2000 by Russell’s high school friend, Dany Levy. Russell served as an advisor to the newsletter at its inception, and eventually invested in the company in 2002 along with other media moguls like MTV founder Bob Pittman

It was snatched up by Comcast in 2008 for $125 million. At that time, Russell claims the publication had a user base of 2.5 million subscriptions and an “astronomical” open and engagement rate.

Russell strongly believes that the problem with the site isn’t that email newsletters have become passé. He pointed to the success of Thrillist, Jack Threads and his own Inside Hook as prime examples that the medium has stayed relevant.

In his opinion, what went wrong was that DailyCandy ignored reader engagement and stopped putting the consumers first. He argued that instead of finding new things to highlight, the newsletters became stale and relied on aggregated content with a focus towards the website.

“The second they lost the [original] senior management team, nobody had direct responsibility to the consumer. All they were looking at was dollars and cents and metrics. They lost their brand,” said Russell.

That said, Russell was adamant that DailyCandy was not beyond saving. “Had they offered it to me, I would have bought it in a second,” he said.