The Daily Beast reports that ThinkProgress is for sale. The Progressive news site has been the launching pad for the careers of several prominent leftwing journalists, but it’s losing more money that the Center for American Progress, the leftwing think tank that owns it, can afford. The site is expects to lose $3 million this year.
ThinkProgress has never been profitable. In the past, it has made up its shortfalls with contributions from CAP and CAP donors. Several ThinkProgress alums told The Daily Beast that they believed that CAP could continue covering the deficit but had concluded that the site was too much of an editorial headache and too big a financial drain for them to rationalize doing so.
One of the things I learned even before I took Econ 101 was that if too few people want to pay for your product, it will fail in the market place. ThinkProgress has had over a decade to find a functional business model. It doesn’t have the Real World eyeballs and clicks to survive on ad revenue. It hasn’t attracted a subscriber base. It hasn’t attracted sugar daddy donors. And now, it seems to have become more trouble that it’s worth as a propaganda arm for its related think tank.
I suspect that someone will buy it cheap (Remember when Newsweek sold for a dollar?), and it will struggle along as a vanity project á là The New Republic for a while.