News Corporation pushes tablet title

07 February 2012

NEW YORK: The Daily, the current affairs publication developed exclusively for tablet computers by News Corporation, has now moved beyond the "building" stage and is seeking to gain significant scale.

News Corp has spent around $30m establishing The Daily, which launched a year ago. It has attracted 100,000 subscribers, either spending 99c per issue or $39.99 for an annual package.

More specifically, 250,000 unique readers browse content each month, available via an app, and it is estimated that this publication will break even roughly five years after going live.

"We were in building mode for six months," Greg Clayman, publisher of The Daily, told The New York Times. "It's a big shift to go from speculation to seeing how people actually use it."

Readers generally dedicate half an hour a day to perusing The Daily – which employs 150 staff – through its iPad app, according to in-house statistics. It will also soon be offered on some Samsung Galaxy Tabs thanks to a tie-up with Verizon.

"The feedback we get from users is that this is sit-down, appointment viewing. No one has ever said 'This isn't up to date enough,'" Jesse Angelo, The Daily's editor-in-chief, said.

A large proportion of the title's subscribers live in states including Florida, Texas, Michigan, Nashville and Denver, rather than the typical early-adopter audiences of Los Angeles and New York.

Angelo suggested this reflected the aim of Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp, to target "everybody" by running a wide range of content covering everything from hard news to fashion and entertaining clips.

"I don't care about what people in a 20-block radius of our office [in Manhattan] say about this product," Angelo said.

The current reader base certainly has appealing characteristics for marketers: more than half are in the 35–50 year old age-group, 45% have children, 89% are home owners, and median household earnings stand at $118,000.

Figures from Apple showed that The Daily was among the top three apps yielding the highest revenues last year, behind only Angry Birds and Smurfs' Village.

"Now the question is one of scale: How big can this be and can it be profitable?" Jon Miller, News Corporation's chief digital officer, said. "Everyone is working on that one."

Data sourced from The New York Times; additional content by Warc staff