But The Daily still has a long way to go before it proves
anything about paid media or the tablet. While its subscriber rolls
remain well short of the 500,000 paying readers that Mr. Murdoch
said would make it a viable business, Mr. Clayman said the company
views it as a multiyear project to bring a new brand to
profitability, like a magazine launch.
The Daily's numbers put it in the ballpark with some established
print brands' digital editions. The New Yorker, for example, has
26,880 iPad-only subscribers paying $59.99 a year, among 135,571
total iPad edition readers, a group that includes print subscribers
who have activated their free tablet subscription. Overall the
magazine has 189,154 paying digital readers across devices and
platforms, including print subscribers who activated digital
access, new iPad subscribers and Kindle readers.
"It's still very early in the process, and it's still only an
iPad application," said Mike Vorhaus of consulting firm Frank N.
Magid Associates. "I think they could get to 300,000 to 350,000 on
just one device."
Bloomberg first reported The Daily's total circulation last
While the iPad has grown beyond anyone's expectation, it is
still just one device, among increasingly many. Mr. Clayman said
The Daily is getting close to releasing an Android version, which
has to be developed for several different screen sizes, including
the 7-inch Kindle Fire revealed by Amazon last week.
So far, The Daily's advertisers view it as an experiment in the
"I think there is a lot of value in testing and learning in
tablet editions," said Robin Steinberg, exec VP at MediaVest, a unit of Publicis Groupe .
"The Daily, to me, is People-meets-the New York Post; it's kind of
a magazine, kind of a newspaper. They have a large user base that
is daily, not weekly or monthly, with some interesting engagement
The Daily's readers spend an average of 20 to 30 minutes with
the app each day, and view 40 pages, according to metrics from
Localytics. The Daily publishes about 120 pages per day, including
ads, videos and graphics.
While some marketers were eager to be part of a buzzy launch,
however, renewing deals is a harder sell.
"It's no longer a beta opportunity, so the question is , "Is
this moving the needle for my business?'" said Andrea Redniss,
managing director at Digital Media Storm. "It's very difficult to
quantify that and lot of major marketers still have big questions
On the other hand, The Daily appears to be benefiting from an
emerging characteristic of the tablet ecosystem, one that has many
in media and retail excited: People are more willing to buy things
-- including subscriptions -- on a tablet than on a PC.
Among The Daily's own subscribers, the early surprise is that
the majority have chosen the $39.99 annual subscription over the
recurring 99-cents-per-week subscription. That has helped keep
churn, or the rate at which people dump service, relatively low,
between 1% and 3% a week, Mr. Clayman said.
While only 5% of U.S. consumers say they would pay for
electronic subscriptions to "news" or "newspapers," the percentage
for iPad owners was 12%, according to Magid.
And yet another surprise: The Daily's subscribers don't all live
on the East Coast or West Coast. (See the map below; circles aren't
precisely proportionate to the number of readers.) "We assumed they
would be early-adopters, but people buying these devices aren't
just on the coasts, they're all over the country," Mr. Clayman
said. "People are using these devices to get their news on the
couch, in bed. It's a natural connection to a product like