“The Daily” folds… why did it fail?

iPad and newspaper

Updated on December 10, 2021

The DailyNews came around the online world that Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-based daily newspaper, “The Daily,” is closing up shop, not having pulled in as many subscribers as they’d wanted. See NPR’s article on the rise and fall of the digital-paper-that-couldn’t.

As for why it couldn’t, every media outlet online’s speculating why. Overall, I’d agree with Mashable and a few other sites’ take on why “The Daily” failed (besides a generic sounding name… I keep wanting to add “Planet” at the end…):

  • Being an iPad-only publication. As popular a tablet as the iPad is, not everyone owns one, and even those that do might want to read their news on their phone, a non-iOS device, or even their computers. Most digital magazines/newspapers/etc. are cross-platform, either via apps available for a variety of platforms (see Comixology, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Amazon’s Kindle) or are Web-based. Apparently, “The Daily” realized this too late and tried expanding to the iPhone/Android, but it was for naught.
  • A lack of ability to share links to articles. The “New York Times” has a model of allowing unlimited reading of articles accessed via links from social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), but otherwise setting a limited number of articles read before hitting the site’s paywall. While other online news sites don’t have such paywalls, at least the “Times” allows its articles to be easily tied into social media. The same didn’t seem to be the case for “The Daily,” as a possible byproduct of its app-based nature. Maybe adapting the “Times” approach would’ve helped, if they didn’t want to take the everything-available-for-free-online approach.
  • Forgetting that they are competing with the “New York Times,” CNN, NBC, NPR, and even sites like the “Huffington Post,” let alone specialty news sites/aggregators such as Flipboard, etc. Merely being based on an iPad and a daily publication isn’t sufficient enough when existing news outlets (and ones with ties to more credible news organizations than News Corp., frankly) are out there. If anything, being an iPad-only app surely harmed its ability to compete with the above papers.

From the NPR and Mashable articles, it sounds like they’re folding the remaining “Daily” staff and resources into the “New York Post,” which is a well-known paper that already has an online presence, one not tied to a specific $500 tablet. Improving the “Post”‘s online (and mobile device) presence might’ve been a better path to take instead of starting up “The Daily” in the first place.

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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