In February 2011, Apple and News Corp. attempted to revolutionize the publishing industry with the release of The Daily, the world's first iPad-only newspaper. The goal of The Daily was to provide a modern spin on the news cycle by delivering world news draped in a multimedia experience. In other words, The Daily devoted a lot of resources towards adding photos, video, and touch controls to news stories that are otherwise static. And priced at just $0.99 a week, or $39.99 for an annual subscription, the publication was hoping to attract users with a low price point and make up the difference in volume.
Or at least that was the plan.
All Things D is reporting today that The Daily iPad app is shutting down as of December 15.
In a press release on the matter, Rupert Murdoch explained: "From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term. Therefore we will take the very best of what we have learned at The Daily and apply it to all our properties."
To that end, much of the technology that was incorporated into or developed for The Daily will be swallowed up by the New York Post, also owned by News Corp.
News Corp. made the announcement in the midst of other organizational changes in advance of the company’s upcoming breakup, which will spin off the company’s publishing assets into a new, separately traded company.
All in all, the news of The Daily's demise is sad but perhaps not altogether surprising.
With so much free news available online, the idea to launch an iPad-only newspaper from scratch was a bold endeavor from day one. It's hard to compete against free, and indeed, The Daily struggled to earn a profit from the beginning. Remember that News Corp. back in August of this year announced widespread layoffs at the iPad-only publication and let go about 50 of its 170 staff members. And a few months before that, back in May of 2011, Murdoch explained that News Corp. had already lost $10 million on the app.
It's fair to say that The Daily was fighting an uphill battle from day one. And now, less than two years after first launching, that battle is over.