Rupert Murdoch’s two-year experiment with an iPad-only newspaper will fade to black later this month. Murdoch’s News Corp. announced Monday that top executives at The Daily will move to the New York Post December 15. After earlier this year slashing staff by a third, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Jesse Angelo will become the Post’s publisher. Daily publisher Greg Clayman will oversee digital efforts of a News Corp. spin-off company devoted to only Murdoch’s publishing empire…
In a press release explaining his decision (via AllThingsD), Murdoch said “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”. Some of the app’s 120 staff will also become part of the Post.
Today’s news only puts a period at the end of a year marked by a succession of problems for the Daily.
In May, the iPhone version of the app/newspaper unveiled with a $19.99 subscription, 50 percent off the original $39.99 cost. Soon afterwards, word leaked that the publication had only 120,000 readers, a fraction of the 500,000 subscribers Murdoch said was needed to stay afloat. The Bloomberg report ignited talk that the “bold experiment” News Corp. began could end.
On July 12, the New York Observer reported that the Daily was put “on watch” after losing $30 million a year. The final decision to either cut or retain the iPad newspaper would be made after the November 6 election, according to the report. Just days after that report, 50 staff members of The Daily were fired.
The Daily for iPhone launched back in May.
I’m sure in the following days of Monday’s closure notice, postmortems of the Daily will be published. The demise of the newspaper only strengthens the hand of those who view the iPad as only a content-delivery device.
Publishers have had success selling iPad subscriptions to existing newspapers and magazines, however consumers may not be ready to pay for a mobile-only product.
After Huffington Post creator Arianna Huffington introduced an app of long-form journalism with a $1.99 per month subscription, the publication turned free after just five issues.
The problem is much-discussed.
After acclimating computer owners to an abundance of news available only absolutely free, publishers wanting to throw up a pay-wall are getting massive push-back.
Is there a stigma against charging for content (especially news) that makes an iPad-only news source like the Daily impractical?