News Corp.’s The Daily Failing to Meet Expectations

Bloomberg reports readership sits at 120,000 a week — far less than what Rupert Murdoch said it needed to break even

It is not as sexy as a phone-hacking scandal, but add Bloomberg’s story on Wednesday about The Daily to the pile of bad news building up in the News Corp. inbox.

John Nitti, an advertising executive at Zenith Optimedia, tells Edmund Lee that the Daily is averaging 120,000 readers a week, a number comparable to small regional papers like the Blade of Toledo, Ohio, and the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y.

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, who personally introduced his iPad publication in February, said at the time it would need 500,000 subscribers to break even.

Also read: 'The Daily' Publisher: 'Hundreds of Thousands of Downloads' So Far

The number of readers and number of subscribers are two different measurements, but one can assume that if only 120,000 people are reading the publication a week that there are fewer than 500,000 subscribers (or even 200,000).

News Corp. has not released subscriber figures.

The Daily began as an iPad-only publication, betting that the tablet audience was (or would soon be) big enough demographic to sustain its cost.

While the tablet market is undoubtedly growing, many publications have realized the need to be anywhere and everywhere, offering their product to readers wherever they happen to be.

Also read: Amazon Unveils Kindle Fire Tablet, Touch-Screen Kindles

That is one reason News Corp. recently announced a Daily Facebook app that offers some of its editorial and multimedia content for Facebook users.

Unless Facebook somehow fills the coffers, one would expect more expansion from the publication to boost its subscriber base (and thus revenue).

Amazon’s new tablet, unveiled Wednesday morning in New York, would seem like a good fit, but when it comes to tablets the Daily, may be fully committed to Apple.

Whatever platform it uses, the Daily needs something else.