But the trend lines are moving in the wrong direction. And even being in the top 50 every day isn’t enough revenue to be profitable: ”Publisher Greg Clayman told The Times in February that The Daily was on track to break even in five years, short of the average time it takes for a print magazine to see a profit,” Chozick writes. (At that point, it had 100,000 subs paying $1 a week or $40 a year.)
There was a lot of excitement around The Daily when it first launched. It was supposed to be the iPad magazine that was actually tailored to the iPad. Essentially, it was supposed to be good.
A question that I didn’t ask then, but should ask now, is why News Corp. decided to create a new publication instead of just creating a quality WSJ app. Even today, the experience of reading news in iPad apps isn’t amazing. Apps such as Flipboard do a fine job, as do many RSS readers, but the applications put out by the actual publishers are quite terrible.
Just look at the Conde Nast magazine apps. The New York and WIRED apps barely even run, and their reliance on proprietary text rendering proved to be a problem with the launch of the new iPad. Even putting aside issues with text, the actual experience of the magazine as a whole on the iPad is just poor. The iPad has the ability to redefine how one interacts with content and the apps have, so far, failed to redefine more than my expectations of mobile magazines.
The Reading Rainbow iPad app showed that writing can be made truly fun and interesting for children on the iPad. Sure, the content may be quite different from that of a magazine, but nothing says that the tradition content of a print magazine should be brought to the iPad.
News Corp. and other publishers should simply take another look at what they’re doing on the iPad, and go from there. No need to build a new publication and brand — just fix what’s broken.