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The Daily was a tablet- and mobile-based, general-interest daily news publication owned by News Corp.

The Daily was launched in February 2011 as the first tablet-specific publication of its kind and was scheduled to cease publishing in December 2012, with its technology and some staff folded into the New York Post. News Corp. initially invested $30 million in The Daily, with a production cost of $500,000 per week and a reported staff of about 120. In May 2011, News Corp. reported losing $10 million on The Daily in the first quarter of 2011, and that the app had been downloaded nearly 1 million times.

By the following year, it was reported to be losing $30 million a year, and “on watch” by News Corp. for possible shutdown at the end of the year. The Daily laid off nearly a third of its staff in mid-2012, dropping its opinion section and cutting back on its original sports reporting.

As of February 2012, it was the highest-grossing iPad app in Apple’s U.S. App Store, but in mid-2011, it was reported to have 120,000 weekly readers, 80,000 of whom were paying — less than a quarter of what News Corp. estimated it needed to break even. A year after The Daily’s launch, those numbers had grown to a reported 250,000 monthly readers, 100,000 of them paying.

The publication costs 99 cents per week or $40 per year. It was launched with a free trial that was extended for nearly two months. During that trial, The Daily’s publisher, Greg Clayman, said the publication had been downloaded “hundreds of thousands” of times.

Shortly after its launch, The Daily was panned for having underwhelming content, for downloading slowly, and for not being connected to the rest of the web. The Daily has mirror web pages for its tablet content, though those pages have no links and cannot be easily accessed from search engines or The Daily’s homepage. During The Daily’s initial trial period, Andy Baio created The Daily Indexed, which collected links to stories in the app, but ended the project after the free trial was complete.

The Daily’s design was also criticized after its launch, though others praised its visual innovation. A Nieman Journalism Lab analysis found a steep decline in the usage of the social media functions in the app, and a number of Daily staffers left the startup shortly after launch.

In the wake of its closing, The Daily criticized again for its extremely large staff and expensive production, as well as lackluster content,  inability to be shared, and its limitation to tablets.

The Daily was launched on the Apple iPad. In early 2012, it released a version for Google’s Android tablet platform and for the iPhone, and later that year, it launched a weekend edition called WKND. It also ventured into custom app publishing.

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
June 11, 2015 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: In Toronto, The Star is making its own big bet on tablets — Can The Toronto Star have it both ways? Can it maximize the value of its print paper, continuing to extend that value proposition to advertisers and readers every which way — and find a new, large profitable audience w...
Dec. 10, 2014 / Simon Owens
From silos to aggregators: On mobile, apps that cross news org boundaries continue to have a pull — For a brief time, starting in 2010, the news industry convinced itself that it could put the toothpaste back in the tube, and Josh Quittner counted himself among the most optimistic. In April of that year, Apple began sh...
Dec. 7, 2012 / Mark Coddington
This Week in Review: Scale, tablets, and what to take away from The Daily’s failure — Also new in media and tech this week: The British press' self-regulation agreement, the ethics of a haunting photo of impending death, and the Instagram/Twitter war....
Dec. 3, 2012 / Joshua Benton
Some lessons from the demise of The Daily: Was it the platform, the content, the structure, or the business model? — The built-for-iPad "newspaper" is closing on December 15. Here are the ideas some are taking away from News Corp.'s high-profile venture into a platform-specific news organization....
Sept. 13, 2012 / Ken Doctor
The newsonomics of the Quartz business launch — Atlantic Media's new business site has the advantage of starting with a strategic clean slate. Now, it's all about execution....

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: December 6, 2012.
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