March 4, 2011

“˜The Daily’ iPad App Off To Great Start

"It's going great," Greg Clayman said of the The Daily, the digital newspaper created for Apple's iPad by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Speaking at the paid content 2011 conference in New York City, Clayman tells AFP, "We're not disclosing the exact numbers (of downloads) but it's in the hundreds of thousands."

Clayman explains an impressive number of readers had already seen value in the iPad app, enough to pay the subscription fee of 99 cents a week. He declined to say exactly how many paid subscribers The Daily has signed up, joking only that it's "more than one and less than a billion."

News Corp. has agreed to the controversial revenue-sharing model that is offered to other publishers with Apple taking a 30 percent cut of each subscription. "We get the same revenue share that everybody else does," Clayman explains.

Although currently only available on the iPad, The Daily would eventually be offered on tablet computers running Google's Android software. "We want to be where the consumers are," he said. Apple is the tablet market leader with sales of more than 15 million iPads in consumers hands, Clayman noted, but "we do expect the Android tablet market will grow."

Describing The Daily, which News Corp. launched on February 2 at an event in New York attended by the 79-year-old Murdoch, the publisher said, "What the iPad does is it allows you to create something brand new."

"It's not a magazine," Murdoch tells AFP, "It's not a newspaper and yet it is because it publishes news every day. It's not a website and yet we're connected to the Internet."

The application for The Daily, was developed at a cost of around $30 million, and is distinct from other News Corp. properties, which include newspapers in Australia, Britain and the United States and the Fox television networks.

"The key is we're building a brand," Clayman said. "We do work with other News Corp. entities... (but) we're not an aggregator aggregating content throughout News Corp."

Speaking at the launch event a month ago, Murdoch said he would consider it a success "when we sell millions."

The Daily has a staff of about 100 people from the New Yorker, Forbes, the New York Post and other publications, arrives on a subscriber's iPad every morning. The digital publication is Murdoch's latest attempt to find a way to charge readers for content online in an era of shrinking newspaper circulation and eroding print advertising revenue.


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