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The Daily gets 800K downloads but loses $10 million this quarter

The latest quarterly results from News Corporation say The Daily, the much-publicized iPad newspaper, has lost US$10 million. Much of the loss is associated start-up costs. News Corp. reports The Daily costs about $500,000 a week to produce, and revenues depend on advertising and subscriptions. The company has not revealed how many of the people who downloaded the free introductory subscriptions have converted to the pay model.

When The Daily came out, I thought the $39.99 annual subscription cost was reasonable, but the content mix turned me off. I'm not sure if the magazine has the proper flavor of news that would appeal to iPad owners. The Daily looks great and works very well on the iPad, but without compelling content, I'll never be a customer.

Several other magazines have experimented with the iPad, often focusing on cost. Most recently, Time Magazine has offered free iPad issues to customers with paid subscriptions. Many publications are too expensive on the iPad, and cost more than the paper equivalents. Other solutions, like Zinio Newsstand, have a nice mix of magazines at reasonable prices, but basically you get a PDF of the magazine, which is a pain to read because you are constantly re-orienting the page to get the best fit. The Zinio app also offers a text mode, but then the layout and illustrations vanish.

What are your thoughts? Have you been willing to pay for magazines on the iPad? If not, what would it take to get you to open your wallet?

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