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Is The Daily on thin ice?

Mel Martin

The Daily, the heavily-promoted news publication for mobile devices, may be on life support, according to a report in today's New York Observer.

I took a look at The Daily a few months after launch and found it pleasing to look at but not something I would spend money on. There are solid free news offerings from places like Slate, and aggregators like Flipboard and Zite which have a lot more content and can learn my interests over time.

The Daily launched in early 2011 as an iPad-only publication, later adding an iPhone edition and one for the Samsung Galaxy Tab. A large staff was brought in to do original reporting, but there are persistent reports that the enterprise is losing about $30 million per year. In February we learned that The Daily had 100,000 paid subscribers.

The Observer reports today, based on internal sources, that The Daily has been put 'on watch', and whether it survives will be determined after the November elections.

Reviews in the app store are pretty lukewarm, with a lot of complaints about the number of ads in a publication that people have to pay for. Subscriptions are $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. There is a free version of the app with a selection of a few stories from the full edition.

The Daily was a bold experiment, but it may not be a compelling enough offering to sustain itself.

Update: The Editor of The Daily, Jesse Angelo, in a carefully worded denial, responded to the stories about the online newspapers reported problems. You can read his response here.

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