Sun - 21.01.2018

The Daily turns one

The Daily turns one

The Daily celebrates its first birthday today. When News Corp launched its tablet-only daily news publication on February 2, 2011, many in the industry had high hopes.

"News Corp. is redefining the news experience with The Daily. We think it is terrific and iPad users are really going to embrace it," said Steve Jobs, Apple's late CEO, at the time.

One year on, Josh Sternberg at Digiday has published an article about how The Daily has faired so far. At first, the answer seems to be that The Daily's first year has been bumpier than expected.

"There's been no shortage of critics of The Daily," writes Sternberg, "It's too expensive. It lacks a voice. The technology, at least initially, was wonky. It had several staff shakeups. And most of all, it hasn't proven itself a viable as a standalone business."

Rupert Murdoch said last February that The Daily needed 500,000 subscribers to make it 'viable'. It currently has a fraction of that: 100,000 paid subscribers and 250,000 monthly readers, according to Sternberg's article.

Last September, doubts about the Daily abounded after it was revealed that the app had 120,000 weekly readers - well short of Murdoch's goal. Media analyst Ken Doctor was quoted in an article in Bloomberg when the news came out: "The Daily's proving to be a great R&D experiment but probably not a viable business," said Doctor, "It's not breaking through the national noise."

Doctor stated at the time that he believed established newspaper brands would do better with iPad apps than tablet-only publications like The Daily: "If you are Dow Jones, if you're the New York Times, these are good times because you can get that brand and content out in so many different ways, and sell advertisers across devices. But for an entity like the Daily, there's going to be some difficulty."

However, Sternberg is clear that The Daily still has potential. First of all, it's growing; according to Paid Content subscribers increased from 80,000 in October 2011 to 100,000 in January 2012; an jump of 25% in 3 months. It's the third most popular paid app in Apple's store, and is the most popular paid news app. After being launched for iPads only, The Daily expanded this month to become available on certain Android devices too. Sternberg also writes that The Daily has a relationship with important advertisers "who aren't yet ready to throw in the towel on the ambitious experiment".

Most importantly, Sternberg points out that wealthy News Corp can afford to lose money in the short term on The Daily if that's what it takes to work out how to publish successfully in the digital era. "It's not just a bet the company can choose to take; it's a bet the company arguably must take," he writes.

Josh Martin, group director of media strategy at ID Media, is quoted by Sternberg praising The Daily's paid content model: "I think their model of a free trial, followed by a paid model is a good bet," he states. New readers of The Daily are given a two-week free trial, after which they are asked to pay 99 cents a week or $39.99 for a yearly subscription. According to Paid Content, new Android users will be asked to pay $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year after a one-week free trial.

It's still be too early to tell whether The Daily will be a success. But according to Sternberg, publisher Greg Clayman is confident about the tablet's future: "We've absolutely met our expectations. It takes a new publication an average of five to seven years to break even, and we're operating well ahead of that curve," he said.

Sources: The Daily, Digiday, Bloomberg, Paid Content


Hannah Vinter


2012-02-02 13:12

Shaping the Future of the News Publishing

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