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iPad paper 'doomed by isolation'

It was too expensive, lacked editorial focus and, for a digital publication, was strangely cut off from the internet.

That is the obituary being written in real time through posts, tweets and online chats about The Daily, the first-of-its-kind iPad newspaper being shut down this month.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp said that The Daily would publish its final issue on December 15, less than two years after its January 2011 launch. The app has already been removed from Apple's iTunes, where it once received lukewarm ratings.

The Daily had about 100,000 subscribers who paid either 99 cents a week or 40 dollars a year for its daily download of journalism tailored for touchscreens.

But that was not enough to sustain some 100 employees and millions in losses since its launch. At the time of its debut, News Corp said The Daily's operating costs would amount to about half a million dollars a week, or around 26 million (16.2 million) a year.

When News Corp launched The Daily, it was touted as a bold experiment in new media. The company hired top-name journalists from other publications, such as the New York Post's former Page Six editor Richard Johnson, and said it poured 30 million dollars (18.7 million) into the newspaper's launch.

Now, the company is acknowledging that The Daily no longer has a place at News Corp, which is being split in two to separate its publishing enterprises from its TV and movie businesses.

Mr Murdoch said in a statement that News Corp "could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term". Some employees are being hired in other parts of the company.

Critics say The Daily's day-to-day mix of news, opinion and info-graphics was not that different from content available free on the internet. And despite a high-profile launch that drew lots of media attention, the publication failed to build a distinctive brand.

There was no ad campaign touting its coverage and stories were not accessible to non-subscribers, so it did not benefit from buzz that comes from social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

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