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December 03, 2021

The Daily closes; will anyone pay for online content these days?

Since about 2008 or so, newspapers began to falter, a trend that was spurred by the recession but not perhaps created entirely by it.

Whether they were shuttering completely or merely trimming staff or print editions, the graveyard was growing with the bodies of mighty newspapers past.

Of course, everybody has pointed to the growth of digital for print’s demise, though it appears not even the true digital outlet can survive, either.

Today, News Corp. announced that The Daily, its tablet-only newspaper, has gone belly-up.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. launched The Daily  early in 2011, pouring $30 million into the venture, which was then the first of its kind.

*Bing: How much is Rupert Murdoch worth?

At the outset, The Daily  began as an iPad-only newspaper, but soon expanded to other tablets like the Kindle Fire and devices that run Android.

Even at its debut, the idea seemed peculiar, if not ambitious. The tablet market was growing, yes, but why limit yourself to just tablet readers? The thinking went The Daily  was targeting too small a market share to succeed.

But on The Daily  went, charging 99 cents per week, attracting more than 100,000 paying readers who re-upped their subscriptions at a 98 per cent rate, according to editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo.

It would prove, however, unsustainable. After its $30 million investment, News Corp. also had to float $26 million to run The Daily  each year. By late 2012, News Corp.’s self-described “bold experiment in digital publishing” had failed.

The Daily’s  closing brings back an old debate: will readers still pay for online content?

Newspaper paywalls, you no doubt have noticed, have crept up almost everywhere, but while they’re good for business, readers appear to revile them, choosing to go elsewhere for free content rather than plug in their credit card numbers.

Do you pay for online content? If so, why? If not, why not?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Macgasm.net photo



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...