The Messenger, an online media startup that was only founded in 2023, has shut down.
Axios reported the story on Wednesday night, calling it one of the biggest media failures in the Internet era.
In a memo to his employees, Jimmy Finkelstein, the founder and CEO of the company, confirmed that he failed to secure the funding required to keep the business from going bankrupt.
“I’m personally very sad to announce that The Messenger will be shutting down immediately. This decision was made after a painfully difficult discussion. We have tried to raise enough capital in the last few weeks to make it profitable. We have not been able to raise enough capital, and this is why we didn’t share the news until now. It is the last thing I ever wanted and I’m deeply sorry.”
The Messenger began with an incredibly important mission – to provide balanced and accurate journalism at a time when Americans’ trust is at an all-time low. I am proud of the work we have done.
Finklestein attributed its failure to the larger challenges facing the digital and legacy industries. Both are experiencing widespread layoffs due to falling advertising revenues and decreasing newspaper circulation.
The CEO continues:
In the past year, the industry has faced unprecedented challenges. Many media companies are struggling to survive because of the economic headwinds. As a brand-new company, our challenges were even greater than those of other companies and we could not overcome them. I’m grateful to all of you, and to the partners that have joined us over the last seven months. But the truth is we needed more money to succeed.
Axios reports that the company had raised $50 million at its launch in May last year and projected $100 million of revenue by 2024. The company hired several experienced journalists, including those from Politico and Reuters.
Those projections were a pipe dream, as they only brought in $3 million by 2023 and spent millions every month.
The site was successful in attracting an audience. It generated around 10 million unique visitors per month, but that number was still far below the amount needed to even come close to profitability.
Finkelstein’s failure is even more disappointing, given his success as a political journalist with The Hill. He sold it to Texas-based Nexstar Media Group in 2021 for $130 million.
The failure of the company adds to what have already been a few devastating months for the media sector, which has been described by some analysts as being on the verge of collapse.
The Los Angeles Times announced last week that they were laying off 115 employees in their newsroom due to reports that the newspaper was losing $30 million per year.
In October of last year, it was reported that The Washington Post, despite being owned by a billionaire, Jeff Bezos would cut 240 jobs, and be on course to lose more than $100 million by 2023.
This story is in progress. Updates will be provided as soon as they are available.