Super Bowl XLV: The Daily’s Gamble


With a value of $3 million and a reach that can’t be matched, an ad on the Fox broadcast of Super Bowl XLV is one of the biggest marketing weapons in the News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). arsenal. Getting one of the house spots is a great opportunity for The Daily — and with tech issues already visible as it scales, a calculated risk.

Had the Jan. 19 launch gone off as planned, Rupert Murdoch’s iPad gamble likely would be in a better position to handle the Super Bowl uptick. (Granted, the target audience of iPad owners is only a small subset of the expected 100-plus million Super Bowl viewers.) Sunday afternoon, The Daily promised an update in “coming weeks” to deal with some of the issues in a blog post that mentions the “beauty” of iteration.

In contrast, Hulu, the online video joint venture of Fox, NBC Universal (NSDQ: CMCSA) and Disney (NYSE: DIS), went through 18 weeks of beta and launched officially 10 months before its Super Bowl ad. I’m not suggesting that The Daily should have waited that long, only noting that was stable and ready to take the hit.

The calculation? It looks like The Daily is counting on the same kind of good will that kept people hanging on for updates from Flipboard or other apps overwhelmed by a big start, keeping enough interested users to outweigh the frustrated ones. (The people most willing to stick with it may also be those most likely to pay.)

Even so, The Daily may want to have a chat with Verizon about extending that free two-week trial.

About the ad: Unlike Hulu, which went for humor with alien Alec Baldwin, The Daily went for a straight intro-branding approach. It got all the right points across (but it also made me think of USA Today). Publisher Greg Clayman tweeted that it was done in house by Fox Sports.


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