FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver “on the block” at ABC News: report
Nate Silver’s data-driven website FiveThirtyEight is reportedly “on the block” as Disney-owned ABC News plans to cut its budget.
ABC News management is expected to make a decision about FiveThirtyEight’s future by the time Silver’s contract expires this summer, the Confider Daily Beast newsletter reported Monday night, citing people with knowledge of the situation.
The site’s performance is allegedly under review by ABC News President Kimberly Godwin, according to the report, which added that ABC may be trying to “offload” FiveThirtyEight’s site in the sale.
FiveThirtyEight has never made a profit. In another sign of potential turmoil, the site failed to fill a number of roles during a recent exodus of top talent, including editor-in-chief, policy editor and sports editor.
Founded by Silver in 2008, FiveThirtyEight publishes a mixture of data-driven content and policy, business and sports analysis. The site also publishes Silver’s carefully monitored predictions ahead of key elections.
The Daily Beast reported that insiders “lamented” ABC’s “lack of enthusiasm” for implementing a subscription-based model at FiveThirtyEight to boost profitability.
According to the report, Silver had previously been in talks to potentially sell his website with The Atlantic and The Athletic in 2017.
The report notes that Silver has faced “public criticism” after FiveThirtyEight’s prediction of a “red wave” in the 2022 midterm elections proved to be inaccurate.
“There are no immediate decisions about our relationship with 538,” an ABC News spokesman said in a statement to The Post. The representative declined to comment further.
In 2018, ABC News took control of FiveThirtyEight from ESPN in a rare asset swap between corporate siblings. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Questions about the future of FiveThirtyEight have come at a time of turmoil in the media industry and the wider economy, with deteriorating conditions triggering a wave of cost-cutting measures and layoffs.
In November, Bob Iger returned to his former position as CEO of Disney as part of the entertainment giant’s reorganization. Shortly after Iger took over the company, he said the hiring moratorium imposed by his predecessor, Bob Chapek, would remain in place.
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texasstandard.news contributed to this report.