Perhaps it was ahead of its time, perhaps it was just poorly executed, but News Corporation’s digital newspaper venture The Daily is set to shut down come December 15th.
The Daily marked a news publishing platform unlike any before it when it was released in early 2011, with the news being written exclusively for a subscription-based iPad app. It cost $0.99 a week for a subscription or $39.99 a year. An iPhone app was also released back in May for a cheaper $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year fee. The fact that it was available only on touchscreen devices meant that articles could be designed to include interesting and interactive elements and pictures.
The app was released as a big push for subscription based content on the iPad but failed to take off. Just over 100,000 users subscribed to the service, yet News Corporation said it needed 500,000 to be profitable. The failing paper cut 30 percent of its staff in August; however it clearly wasn’t enough to save the ailing business. Many of the remaining editorial executives at The Daily will now be moving over to assume roles at The New York Post.
News Corporation refers to The Daily as an experiment meant to test the world of digital only publishing. News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch had this to say on the shutting down of The Daily. “The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term.” The Daily was clearly an experiment that has failed but that doesn’t mean the digital only platform can’t exist. We’ll have to watch over the next few years to see if someone else tries a new and revised push to crack into the world of tablet only news.
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