updated 07:35 pm EDT, Wed May 4, 2011
The Daily loses 10m in first quarter on sale
News Corp. during its results call on Wednesday revealed that it had chewed through $10 million in losses for The Daily's first quarter on the iPad. COO Chase Carey explained the cash outlay as the result of early development, noting that it was "real early days" for the tablet publication. It had been somewhat over a month since it began charging for customers and was popular, but still a "work in progress," he explained.
About a third of that would have come from the $3 million Super Bowl ad. News Corp. estimated that the iPad app takes near $500,000 per week to keep running and would have accounted for much of the rest of the burn rate.
The loss would have been narrower were it not for the rough state of the app when it launched. Early readers complained about crashes and more often about a sluggish interface that took multiple fixes to cure. Payments were only mandatory in late March, just as the iPad 2 was rolling out.
News Corp. has made no illusions that it expected to be profitable from the outset. The Daily is expanding quickly and should be reaching Android soon, although weak Android tablet sales could make the iPad the dominant format for much of 2011 and beyond.