iPad newspaper The Daily lays off a third of its staff

We’ve known for a while now that News Corp.’s made-for-iPad newspaper The Daily was in trouble. Last fall, the paper’s audience was estimated to be somewhere in the area of just 100,000 active readers — well short of the 500,000 it needs to break even. Then back in May of this year, word got out that the Daily had been put “on watch” for its poor performance.

Well there must have been some truth to the chatter, as a new report is out today claiming that The Daily just laid off a third of its staff…

AllThingsD reports:

“The Daily, News Corp.’s attempt to create a digital newspaper for the iPad age, is laying off nearly a third of its staff.

The publisher plans to tell its workers today that it will fire 50 of its 170 employees, according to people familiar with The Daily’s plans.”

The report goes on to say that the newspaper also plans to implement several design and content changes over the coming months in an effort turn the publication around. It’s currently losing an estimated $30 million per year.

The Huffington Post obtained an internal memo from The Daily’s Editor-in-chief Jesse Angela to his staff:

“As you may already know, today we announced content and personnel changes designed to focus resources on our most popular features, streamline our operations, and improve our business.

This was not an easy step to take but it was necessary for the health and vibrancy of the organization. The changes focus on reorganizing some features of The Daily and streamlining production. To do this we are reducing our staff by 29 percent, letting go of 50 full-time people.

This is a painful decision that we do not take lightly. It is a sad and difficult day for all of us as we say goodbye to colleagues as well as friends. But I am confident that these changes will make our business stronger.”

There’s a few takeaways from all of this. One, it seems that print media isn’t as dead as a lot of folks would have us believe, as thousands of publications still enjoy audiences 10x the size of The Daily.

And two, we shouldn’t count News Corp.’s little experiment out just yet. The Daily still has time to wow us, and appears to be taking the necessary steps to do that. The newspaper reportedly has until November — after the fall elections — to start impressing people.

We’re curious, do you subscribe to The Daily?