News Corp Shuts Down Knewz Aggregation Site, Saying It Wasn’t Profitable

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The Knewz crew has hit snooze.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has killed off Knewz, its digital news-aggregation service that was a bid to challenge the likes of Google News and Facebook.

News Corp in the past has accused Google and Facebook of profiting off its publications’ content without compensation. But in announcing the shutdown of Knewz a year and half after it launched, the media company acknowledged that the venture was simply unprofitable.

“We started Knewz as an experiment in news aggregation because we wanted to gather a diverse range of quality journalism, to highlight of all sides of every story and to protect and project provenance,” a message on the site said Friday. “We certainly had provenance, but not profits, and so we bid Knewz farewell. Thank you to the millions of Knewz users who saw the value of the service and supported our mission.”

The site’s shutdown message also linked to News Corp-owned publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, MarketWatch — and, a bit incongruously, and real-estate site Mansion Global, although both do include news sections.

In a statement Friday, News Corp said that Knewz (which up until the plug was pulled still had a beta-test designation) was a proving ground for “cutting-edge editorial, aggregation and mobile app software, and our teams will continue to leverage the valuable technical innovations for the benefit of our businesses and to develop new experiences for readers.”

While it was in operation, Knewz pulled headlines from News Corp’s own stable of pubs (including the Journal) as well as from hundreds of third-party news orgs. Those included CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, the New York Times, NBC News and the New York Post, in addition to Murdoch’s Fox News.

There was also an ideological motivation behind Knewz (whose clunky name drew instant mockery). In announcing the project, News Corp touted it as a “groundbreaking news platform free of filter bubbles.”

“We live in a world of vexatious verticals, of crass clickbait, of polarized perspectives and fallacious, fact-free feeds — Knewz is knowing and needed,” News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said in a January 2020 statement.