News Corporation (NSDQ: NWS) has quietly launched its iPad newspaper The Daily in the UK, seven months after the app made its debut in the US. It has been available on Apple’s UK App Store for at least a week, judging by the dates of reviews posted by iOS users.
The UK subscription pricing for The Daily is £0.69 ($1.09) per day or £27.99 ($44.23) for an annual subscription, versus $0.99 (£0.63) and $39.99 (£25.31) respectively in the US. It includes the News, Business, Gossip, Fashion Week, Opinion, Apps & Tech and Sports sections, along with Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
News Corporation has not localised The Daily’s content. It includes stories on Republican party politics, a fire in Minnesota and US house repossessions, with a two-week free trial sponsored by mobile operator Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), which does not have a consumer-facing business in the UK. The adverts are also from the US edition, including Fox TV series Terra Nova and the Droid 4G smartphone.
While British readers with tabloid-trained news sensibilities may enjoy the revelations about Sarah Palin’s “sexy past” and a Scarlett Johansson “nude pix probe”, some early reviewers on the UK App Store have been distinctly unimpressed with the US-focused content.
“I can’t imagine why anyone would want to read about American gossip, American football or American politics,” writes Max Wood, awarding the app one star out of five. “Obama is not our President. Don’t care. Don’t want this,” writes Simon Powell, with the same score.
Other readers are more impressed. ‘Chubbylove79’ hails its design and content: “The writing is strong and I’ve been impressed especially with the 9/11 articles.” Meanwhile, ‘littlechristy55’ thinks “other publishers should be looking at this app as the way forward for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly subscriptions”. That said, both these reviewers ask for more UK-relevant stories.
When The Daily launched in February 2011, News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch said he had invested $30 (£18.99)m into the venture, hiring 100 journalists with an expected burn rate of $500 (£316.4)k a week.
The company has steered clear of announcing any detailed subscriber or revenue figures since then, although in May analysts were told that The Daily’s app had been downloaded more than 800,000 times since launch, but had generated a loss of around $10 (£6.33)m for News Corp in its last financial quarter.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.