Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only newspaper the Daily has 80,000 paying subscribers – a sixth of the number he said the publication needs to break even – the publisher revealed on Monday.
Greg Clayman told US website AdAge that the Daily has 120,000 weekly readers on average, with 80,000 people paying either 99¢ a week or $39.99 a year to read the digital paper since its launch in February.
He said the figures showed readers “responded well” to paying for online content – with 15% of trial readers becoming a paid subscriber – and revealed that the Daily would be available on tablet computers running Google’s Android software in the near future.
“The numbers are telling us people are responding well to original content designed for the platform. Premium content seems to work well on a tablet device,” Clayman told AdAge.
The publisher revealed the number of paid subscribers after an advertising executive told Bloomberg last week that the company was averaging 120,000 readers a week, without disclosing the number of paying users.
Murdoch himself launched the Daily in February, heralding its arrival with the slogan: “New times demand new journalism”.
He said at the time that the title would need 500,000 paying subscribers to become viable.
At 80,000 paying readers the Daily is some way off that target, but Clayman told AdAge the road to profitability would take several years.
He said the majority of subscribers had opted for the $39.99 a year subscription, while churn was low at 1% to 3% a week.
The Daily made a low-key launch in international markets, including the UK, in mid-September after being US-only since its debut in February.
While the majority of the Daily’s subscribers live on the east or west coast of the US, a significant percentage reside in midwest states such as Texas and Oklahoma, Clayman said.
“We assumed they [coastal residents] would be early adopters, but people buying these devices aren’t just on the coasts, they’re all over the country,” Clayman added. “People are using these devices to get their news on the couch, in bed. It’s a natural connection to a product like ours.”
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