The Daily Claims Almost 1 Million Downloads

Publisher won't reveal subscriber numbers, though

Is The Daily, News Corp.'s tablet newspaper, finally pulling back the curtain?

Since it launched three months ago, Rupert Murdoch’s great iPad experiment has been cagey about providing its numbers and access to its executives. But on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Wednesday, publisher Greg Clayman said the publication has been downloaded almost 1 million times. Meanwhile, media buyers tell Adweek that The Daily is getting ready to provide numbers on paid downloads once it reaches a target level.

Clayman would only go so far, though; he wouldn’t say how many of those 1 million downloads translated in to paid subscriptions. (The Daily started charging in March, $1 per week and $40 a year, after a free trial period was extended to work out bugs in the app.) And a good deal of the initial interest can probably be attributed to the novelty factor: News Corp.’s fanfare-filled launch and Apple’s heavy promotion of it in the App Store.

Clayman shared other tidbits at the forum, such as the fact that people are spending considerable time with The Daily and that its readers are distributed across the U.S.

“Our audience is very engaged,” he said. “We’re talking about people who are spending a half hour on average a day with the app. Advertisers love that.”

Questions about The Daily’s editorial quality and its viability in the face of intense competition, including legacy news brands, on the iPad don’t seem to dampen Clayman’s belief in its prospects.

“We think there’s a very large audience for an edited, curated product,” he told the audience. “People’s favorite magazine might be The New Yorker or . . . Newsweek. We want their favorite magazine to be The Daily.”

The lack of detail will be a stumbling block in bringing on new advertisers, though. Brenda White, publishing activation director at Starcom USA, said she wants to know readers have responded to it, what need it fills, and how it’ll differentiate itself from competitors. “It’s definitely a tough marketplace for them,” White said.

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