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Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has fared well with the success of The Daily, a digital newspaper created for Apple’s iPad by his company, News Corp. It requires users to pay for the content they view, and has already tallied hundreds of thousands of downloads since its launch a month ago, according to the latest reports.
Although The Daily has extended a free trial period until March 21, Clayman said a number of readers had already opened their wallets to pay the subscription fee of 99 cents a week.
He declined to say exactly how many paid subscribers The Daily has signed up, joking only that it’s “more than one and less than a billion.”
Clayman said News Corp. had agreed to the same revenue-sharing model that Apple is offering to other publishers with the California-based gadget-maker taking a 30% cut of each subscription.
“We get the same revenue share that everybody else does,” he said.
Clayman said News Corp. was not “locked into” a single platform for The Daily, which is currently only available on the iPad, and it would eventually be offered on tablet computers running Google’s Android software.
“We want to be where the consumers are,” he said.
Apple is the tablet market leader with sales of more than 15 million iPads, Clayman noted, but “we do expect the Android tablet market will grow.”
Describing The Daily, which News Corp. launched on February 2 at an event in New York attended by the 79-year-old Murdoch, the publisher said “it really is something new.”
“It’s not a magazine,” he said. “It’s not a newspaper and yet it is because it publishes news every day. It’s not a website and yet we’re connected to the internet.
What the iPad does is it allows you to create something brand new.”
Clayman said The Daily, which was developed at a cost of around US$30 million, was distinct from other News Corp. properties, which include newspapers in Australia, Britain and the United States and the Fox television networks.
“The key is we’re building a brand,” he said. “We do work with other News Corp. entities… (but) we’re not an aggregator aggregating content throughout News Corp.”
The Daily, which has hired a staff of about 100 people from the New Yorker, Forbes, the New York Post and other publications, arrives on a subscriber’s iPad every morning.
The digital publication is Murdoch’s latest attempt to find a way to charge readers for content online in an era of shrinking newspaper circulation and eroding print advertising revenue.
Speaking at the launch event a month ago, Murdoch said he would consider it a success “when we sell millions”.