How many subscriptions to The Daily, News Corp.’s iPad-only multimedia newspaper, have been sold since the expiration of the free trial period last week? I have no idea. That’s why there’s an asterisk in this headline.
But I do know a little something about how The Daily fared with consumers during the trial. I’m told the app was downloaded 500,000 times. (Publisher Greg Clayman has said publicly that it had amassed “hundreds of thousands” of downloads.) Since Apple has sold around 20 million iPads so far — 14.8 million last year and an estimated 5 million to 8.8 million so far in 2011 — that would mean something like 2.5 percent of iPad users have at least tried out The Daily.
I’m also told The Daily has 75,000 “regular users,” meaning 15 percent of those who downloaded it liked it enough to keep reading it at least as long as it was free. That number would presumably be higher if the initial version of the app hadn’t been so buggy that News Corp. had to ask users to delete it and install an updated one.
A spokeswoman for The Daily declined to comment on these figures. Jeff Jarvis did a back-of-the-envelope calculation and estimated The Daily will need 750,000 subscribers at its current price of 99 cents a week or $40 a year before it starts breaking even. It’s fair to say they have a ways to go.