iPad mag The Daily could be shuttered over disappointing subscription sales

The Daily, a tablet magazine launched as an iPad exclusive about a year and half ago, my not be around much longer as its parent company, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, could shut it down at a moment’s notice due to staggering losses and strong competition from popular social media aggregators like Flipboard (now available on Android as well), News 360 and others. Kat Stoeffel reports for The New York Observer that the media mogul’s publishing empire has put The Daily “on watch” as it scrapped its internal news wire and shed staff…

Here’s your quote:

There are internal rumors that The Daily has been put “on watch.” According to a source the status of the groundbreaking iPad tabloid—which loses $30 million a year—will be reassessed after the November 6 election.

The publication needed 500,000 subscribers to break even but failed hitting the target big time. According to Bloomberg, The Daily had only 120,000 subscribers in September 2011. Not even a long-overdue March 2012 release of an iPhone client with 50 percent lower subscription rates wouldn’t move the needle.

Of note, Murdoch’s son James was in attendance at a yesterday’s media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, along with a bunch of other media execs and Apple’s boss Tim Cook. Cook is thought to have specifically attended this yearly retreat to negotiate iTunes deals with Hollywood execs, presumably for Apple’s full-blown television set the rumor-mill speculates is in the works.

Now, The Daily.

I must say I’m not surprised the least bit. When I first heard the world’s powerful media empire would release an iPad-only digital magazine, it’s not that the idea wasn’t intriguing at the time – it was.

But at forty bucks a year, The Daily was a tough sell then as much as it is nowadays when three times that buys you unlimited access to forty premium monthly and bi-weekly magazines from major publishers.

I’d bet my shirt that way more people would be willing to pay something closer to $9.99 a year, even if they must cope with one of the sluggishest magazine apps the world has ever seen.

It didn’t help that News Corp promoted the hell out of The Daily and offered free access during the first month. Once the novelty wore off, people just didn’t care. And News Corp can argue all it wants how The Daily was a well-written publication managed by well-established names in journalism.

To me, it was yet another sterile, soulless, AP style pretentious publication that pretended to understand what the online generation wanted yet had been in disconnect with the 101 of modern web reporting.

Big media, huh?

Give me $30 million and I’ll show you how a profitable magazine is done.