Zuckerman Aims at Flyover Country

Plans national 'Daily News' website

Word that the Daily News is working on a new U.S. news website confirms recent remarks owner Mort Zuckerman made on the subject. In a conversation with Adweek earlier this year, Zuckerman said the Daily News would launch a “national Web product” to nurture an already large national online audience.

NYDailyNews.com has 10 million visitors, 8 million of which are outside its home market, according to Zuckerman, adding, “That is where you are seeing the advertising energy. New York is a very interesting subject for the whole country, and we’re going to try to exploit that with more features and more stories—New York stories that are basically about the people of New York and New York City." The Daily News just hired Ted Young, past editor of the Daily Mail’s website—which also has a large U.S. footprint—to guide the online expansion.

Zuckerman has already seen the momentum the Web has brought to his U.S. News & World Report, which all but abandoned news in print in 2010 to focus mostly on a rankings-centric website. In expanding nationally, the Daily News would be following the playbook of other publications like New York magazine, which is much more of a national publication online than in print, with most of its print circulation coming from the New York area but three-fourths of its Web traffic coming from outside of it.

A national site could help the money-losing Daily News build on its already sizeable online lead over arch-rival New York Post, which just hired former Gawker editor Remy Stern to work on its own digital strategy. Beyond its local competitors, getting a bigger slice of online advertising will be an upward battle, though, given the space is already well carved up among the much higher trafficked CNN, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, not to mention the portals.