Reports this week indicate that The Daily – the first iPad-only newspaper title – lost $10 million last quarter, and News Corp’s COO says the title is ‘a work in progress’. News Corp have also told The Wall Street Journal that downloads of The Daily are in the neighborhood of 800,000 – not a huge number after three months in the App Store, and no numbers have been given for how many of those downloads have turned into subscriptions.
News Corp are pouring a lot of money into The Daily; it’s known that they spent some $30 million dollars just getting it to the App Store, and they have over 100 staff working on the title. I’d really like to hear how many subscribers they’ve got, and more about how long News Corp believes it will take to make it a profitable title.
As for the ‘work in progress’ label, that seems very apt. As I stressed in my review of The Daily, the title has a large number of technical flaws. What’s surprising for such a high-profile and heavily funded title is not so much that it had major flaws right out of the gate, but that most of them remain three months after it launched. Just as one quick example, the app still to this day does not remember where you leave off reading. So if you’re very much enjoying a multi-page article and switch away for a moment to check email, you’re dumped back out at the front page when you return. This is a basic, stupid execution error – and it has still not been corrected. No wonder the paper is losing money at this point.