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‘The Daily’ Publisher: ‘Hundreds of Thousands of Downloads’ So Far

But few have paid for News Corp.’s tablet newspaper since extending a free trial

The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s splashy iPad publication, has been downloaded by “hundreds of thousands” of users since its launch last month, according to its publisher, Greg Clayman. But since extending its free trial until March 21, few are paying customers.

Clayman, speaking at PaidContent’s 2011 Conference in New York, would not disclose exact circulation figures. “It’s more than one and less than a billion,” Clayman said when asked how many people have paid for subscriptions to the Daily.

He said that despite a perceived chumminess with Apple, which was heavily involved in building the subscription platform for the News Corp. launch, the Daily is still giving Apple a 30 percent cut on subscriptions. “We have the same [deal] everybody else does,” Clayman said.

When asked how involved News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch is with the Daily and its day-to-day operations, Clayman said, “He’s involved.”

As far as what they’re spending the reported $30 million earmarked for the launch on, Clayman inferred that it’s mostly been for staffing.

“We went from a standing start to a full-fledged newsroom, photographers and developers,” he said. “We went zero to 60 in five months."

Clayman added: "We are building the plane while we’re taking off.”