updated 06:05 pm EDT, Wed September 28, 2011
The Daily iPad newspaper gets little reach
The Daily's readership figures are less than a quarter of what they need to be to break even, Publicis Groupe executive VP John Nitti revealed in a discussion Wednesday. Relaying what it had heard directly from News Corp., the advertiser told Bloomberg that about 120,000 unique readers, which could include those on two-week trials, were being tracked every week. News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch had said during the launch event that about 500,000 were needed to break even.
Murdoch had expected that the currently iPad-focused publication would take some time to get up to sustainable numbers but hadn't said when or if there were certain milestones to gauge whether it was doing well. Although The Daily was promised for other platforms shortly after it started, it only just left the iPad this month, when Facebook rolled out an expanded Open Graph and let The Daily bring in an optimized app.
Even with a Super Bowl ad, the publication has struggled for exposure next to more recognizable, traditional outlets have usually had more recognition, including News Corp.'s own Wall Street Journal. Some of this has been attributed to a greater willingness to give out some of that content for free, but others have pointed to the tabloid news style common of Murdoch-backed papers providing only a limited amount of unique content, such as its approach to the technology section, where some free sites can be more substantive.
The executive has lately been in a backlash against the trend towards ad-supported free content and has put more and more of his major publications behind paywalls, where little if any of the content is available without a subscription. This has had some success with the WSJ and The Times, where the revenue is worth the reduced readership, but they also had their established names and existing paper subscribers to count on.