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Tablet-Only Newspaper Experiment Shows Promise

   
4:43 pm on Oct 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Tablet-Only Newspaper Experiment Shows Promise [adage.com]
Can you build a general-news publication exclusively for tablets and gain an audience of paying subscribers?

That was Rupert Murdoch's gamble seven months ago when he launched The Daily, the first (and still only) "iPad newspaper." It was a $30 million bet on both the tablet as a medium and the public's willingness to pay for news.

Today The Daily has 120,000 active weekly readers, 80,000 of whom are actually paying for the app, according to Publisher Greg Clayman. The bigger number includes 40,000 non-paying readers on a two-week introductory trial period. About 15% of people who sign up for a trial ultimately end up subscribing, he said. "The numbers are telling us people are responding well to original content designed for the platform. Premium content seems to work well on a tablet device."

4:50 pm on Oct 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The only problem I remember with that stupid newspaper is it was only published once a day, didn't have live updates which even free sources provide.

If that's still the case, they're limiting their subscriptions due to that one silly practice IMO
5:04 pm on Oct 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's also limiting its reach by being Apple iOS-based. The new Kindle Fire, or other tablets will soon be revenue-generating opportunities.

I do wonder what you get on there that you cannot get elsewhere.
5:54 pm on Oct 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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80k paying readers is good, if its true.

Among The Daily's own subscribers, the early surprise is that the majority have chosen the $39.99 annual subscription over the recurring 99-cents-per-week subscription. That has helped keep churn, or the rate at which people dump service, relatively low, between 1% and 3% a week, Mr. Clayman said.


I'm not sure why that's a surprise, but considering the huge promotional effort (much more cash invested than they've taken off those folk), it's much too early to pronounce it a success.

In fact, the whole thing sounds like yet another promotional effort by NewsCorp;

But The Daily still has a long way to go before it proves anything about paid media or the tablet. While its subscriber rolls remain well short of the 500,000 paying readers that Mr. Murdoch said would make it a viable business, Mr. Clayman said the company views it as a multiyear project to bring a new brand to profitability, like a magazine launch.


Mr Clayman has no clue; there's not a magazine publisher on the planet who views magazine launches as 'multiyear' these days - and probably never in the past, either.

As the costs of online are smaller (esp as they probably steal copy from other Murdoch papers), they can probably give it a couple a years: "A luxury not available to print magazine launches", as Mr Clayman should have said.

But adding 420k over 18 months after 80k in six months heavy marketing is a pretty tall order; if magazines are anything to go by (which they may not be!) they peak after a few months, then settle down to a fairly stable state for a while before either rising or slowly dying. The fastest rise is almost bound to be in the first few months, when promotion, interest and any viral effect are highest.
 

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