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Reading habits and readers' thoughts on The Daily

Reading habits and readers' thoughts on The Daily

It has been two months since its launch and two weeks since the end of its free trial period, so how is Rupert Murdoch's tablet-only The Daily doing so far?

While there aren't official figures about how many subscriptions have been sold, Jeff Bercovici reported on how The Daily fared with consumers during the trial.
Publisher Greg Clayman said at the beginning of March that, even if he was not going to disclosure the exact numbers, downloads were in the hundreds of thousands.
Bercovici reported having been told that the app had been downloaded 500,000 times. "Since Apple has sold around 20 million iPads so far -- 14.8 million last year and an estimated 5 million to 8.8 million so far in 2011 -- that would mean something like 2.5 percent of iPad users have at least tried out The Daily", he noted.

He also has been told The Daily has 75,000 "regular users", meaning 15 percent of those who downloaded it liked it enough to keep reading it at least as long as it was free, he wrote.

But who are The Daily's readers?

A recent survey by media research firm knowDigital - reported by Jim Romenesko on Poynter - analysed iPad users to investigate the appeal of The Daily among real iPad users and identified that there are some obstacles to its obtaining widespread appeal.

The survey discovered that the perception among those with the greatest interest in news is that The Daily's content is lacking, that superior content is available elsewhere online for free and the expectation is that apps are purchased through one-time transactions, as opposed to the recurring subscription model The Daily employs, knowDigital press released announced.

The survey found that there are two distinct groups of iPad users: one consisting of consumers who are deeply engaged in serious news and are comfortable piecing together sources from various searches, RSS feeds and aggregation sites and the other, by contrast, is formed by light news users with less interest in hunting and gathering their own news and information.

"Generally speaking, consumers who are highly interested in news and are more tech savvy express little interest in The Daily in its current form. The product is very appealing, on the other hand, to consumers with a lower interest in news and less technological savviness", the report says.

The group of mostly tech savvy males (lighter users appear to be mostly females) who are heavier news consumers - the survey underlines - is not nearly as taken with the technical features of The Daily. They do not find the content unique or deep enough compared to what they can find elsewhere for free.

All users, however, agree on some points: the form of The Daily itself is novel and appealing in many regards, especially regarding the fact it offers more than the simple text and photos offered by most news websites. Consumers nearly universally describe the product as an app, not referring to it as a website, newspaper or magazine. And generally few are aware that some of The Daily stories update throughout the day, undermining the perception of it as a breaking news source.

You can find the whole survey here.

Jeff Jarvis made an assessment of The Daily's finances: it will need 750,000 subscribers at its current price of 99 cents a week or $40 a year before it starts breaking even.

As AFP (via Yahoo! News) reported, speaking at the launch event, Murdoch said he would consider it a success "when we sell millions." Will that day come?

Sources: AdAge - Mediaworks, Mixed Media, AFP (via Yahoo! News), BuzzMachine, Poynter



Federica Cherubini


2011-04-01 13:55

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