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What the Dandy might have taught Murdoch's team behind the Daily

Things are different in America - still. Despite all the togetherness of the internet and super-easy air travel, you can even today be surprised (for good or ill) at what's going across the Atlantic. This blog, borrowing its title from the legendary Alistair Cooke, aims to keep you in the picture about things you might not otherwise know.

The Dandy introduced me to the world of media, not that anybody called it that then . As a three-year-old living in Dundee, home town of that great comic (where Desperate Dan lives on today as a street sculpture), I had a copy mailed to me each week by my grandfather.

Desperate Dan: dig that cow pie

With a halfpenny stamp and a 2d (tuppenny) cover price it dropped through the letterbox of my home as regular as clockwork each Wednesday. With my dad in the Army, It was left to my mother to read it to me, which she did with her own fanciful embellishments.

Korky the Cat was the cover character but my favourite was Desperate Dan , with his appetite for enormous cow pies.

The Dandy went on to sell millons , a triumph of publishers who really knew their market - and reeled in the readers. And hopefully it will live as long online as it did in print.

By a very odd coincidence, the Dandy is vanishing from the print scene the same week that Rupert Murdoch's New York digital paper The Daily is dropping out of the online world.

What a missed opportunity that is. From the start, they got it wrong , choosing to confine readership to owners of tablet computers, mainly iPads. Instead of going for a worldwide audience with a great name like The Daily, it settled for very narrow North American market, with in the end a pathetic 100,000 subscribers. For heavens sake, that should have been 100 million! The English-language world was their oyster.

Some way should have been found to make the Daily pay, if not subscription dollars then advertising dollars. The Dandy never carried ads but the Daily could have tapped the world's biggest ad market.

If Rupert Murdoch is reading this, it's not too late. Just give me a call. I'll bring in Desperate Dan to get the show back on the road.

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