News Corp.’s pioneering iPad newspaper The Daily could be on the chopping block. Competitor The New York Daily reported Thursday that rumors within News Corp. say that The Daily has been put “on watch” in the middle of a major restructuring at the media giant. Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said that News Corp. plans to reassess the status of The Daily after the U.S. elections that take place in November.
Launched in February of 2011, The Daily was a big gamble by News Corp. when it was envisioned in 2010. News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch bought into then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s vision of the iPad as the future of media consumption long before the iPad was the massive success it is today.
The company built a dedicated infrastructure of reporters, editors, developers, and sales people whose sole job was to produce daily content for a publication that was initially available only on the iPad. It has since been brought to the iPhone and “select” Android tablets on Verizon.
That commitment was a clear demonstration of just how much potential Rupert Murdoch saw in media tablets in general and the iPad in particular, but the financial reality is that The Daily is estimated to be losing US$30 million per year at this point.
What’s $30 million between friends when it comes to the future of newspapers, you might ask? Unfortunately for The Daily, that $30 million price tag comes while News Corp. is facing an existential crisis sparked by the phone hacking scandal in the UK that has threatened the company’s very existence.
When news broke that reporters for the tabloid rag News of the World had been hacking voicemail accounts of crime victims, celebrities, politicians, and others, News Corp. announced it was closing the paper, which had been in existence since 1843.
It was the biggest newspaper in the UK and a very profitable rag for News Corp., and the entire company’s reputation took a major hit that is still reverberating today. More recently, News Corp. announced that it was splitting up its newspaper publishing business from its more profitable TV business based around Fox and Fox News.
It’s that process that has the company reassessing its commitment to The Daily, as newly promoted COO Chase Carey has been figuring out what’s working and what’s not working within the company.
For now, the app is a free download from the App Store, with subscription access required to access most of the content. Subscriptions are available by the week ($0.99) and year ($39.99) for iPad, or by the month ($1.99) or year ($19.99) for iPhone. Verizon Android tablet owners can subscribe by the month ($3.99) or year ($39.99).
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