By ANDREW VANACORE, AP business writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The turmoil in the media business can be just as difficult to navigate for promising young startups as it is for established players.
Ask Flyp Media, a startup online magazine that’s up for a Webby award along with some top publishers. You can vote to give Flyp the Webby People’s Voice Award but you won’t be able to read it much longer. It lost its financing and the site’s advertising revenue apparently won’t keep it afloat.
That means one experiment in how to do magazine-style journalism in the age of the Internet is at least on hold.
Journalistically, Flyp (pronounced “Flip”) has had some success in its two-year run. It combined various online tools including video, Flash graphics and animation to tell stories. It partnered with Fortune.com to produce interactive versions of the magazine’s features. And it announced Monday that it is one of five finalists for a Webby award along with The Economist, National Geographic, The New Yorker and Wired.
In an interview Monday, Flyp Media CEO Alan Stoga said the company will continue doing similar Web work for publishers — and clients outside the media that want more eye-grabbing websites — under a new, undetermined name.
But the company’s standalone website, which tried to support itself with advertising and worked with publishers for free, will close. And Flyp’s staff of about a dozen people is being laid off, though Stoga said some may be rehired for the new effort.
Stoga wouldn’t say how much revenue the site took in, but he acknowledged that Flyp was better at holding the attention of the readers it had than pulling in a big audience. That’s not much help online, where advertisers generally are more focused on the number of clicks that any given piece of content can draw.
“The good news is we clearly demonstrated how stories ought to be told on the Web,” Stoga said. That aside, he conceded, “You also have to have great demonstrated cash flow.”
Flyp’s inability to get the cash flow part right apparently disappointed the founding investor, Mexican entrepreneur Alfonso Romo. He was bankrolling Flyp along with its sister site in Mexico, Reporte Indigo, which will continue to publish. Messages left with Reporte Indigo seeking comment from Romo were not immediately returned.
“The lingering bits of the recession just make it very difficult to raise money for new ideas,” Stoga said.
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