Jesse Angelo says things at his iPad news app, The Daily, are ‘going great’
About two weeks ago, The Daily embarked on a bid to expand its mobile readership by launching an iPhone edition.
How's that been going so far for the 15-month-old News Corp. tablet tabloid?
"Phenomenal," said editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo on Monday. "Lots of subscribers have signed up at a higer rate than I thought."
And the state of The Daily overall?
"It's going great," he said, noting The Daily's third-place finish on the App Store's list of top-grossing paid apps for 2011, its roughly 100,000 paid subscribers and its 250,000 unique monthly users.
Wearing a light-blue suit and striped tie, Angelo, who was tapped to edit The Daily in 2010 following a meteoric rise at fellow News Corp. publication the New York Post, was onstage in a SoHo conference center for an Internet Week New York panel.
If he was at all frustrated that his publication is "still struggling to break into the national conversation," as The New York Times suggested on The Daily's first birthday several months ago, he didn't show it.
During the panel, a conversation about mobile publishing billed as "The Newsstand 2.0," Angelo sought to emphasize The Daily's customizability, which he said sets it apart from the types of newspaper and magazine tablet editions that tend simply to mirror an existing print edition.
"We are looking at every single page," he said. "We are customizing content. We're looking at saying, 'Wow, this photograph of devastation from a tornado would look really fantastic across three screens with a headline on the third screen and an audio component.' We're making those editorial decisions around what assets come with a story.
"A lot of magazines were shocked to discover that their readers weren't very impressed with their tablet product because it didn't do anything that was different," Angelo continued. "They just in essence took PDFs of their magazine and they threw it up on the tablet and said, 'Pay for this!'"
Angelo also stressed News Corp's committment to paid digital content. It's the reason The Daily, which costs 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year, doesn't have a homepage on the web. But Angelo said The Daily's stories each get their own URL on the open internet, and were traveling well online thanks to social media.
The Daily's recent scoop about "pink slime" being served in certain U.S. school cafeterias, for instance, "went crazy on social media and led to [companies] shutting down four factories that were making the stuff."
And what's next for The Daily?
Asked what developments were in store over the next six months to a year, Angelo replied: "We're focusing a lot on iterating faster; making faster changes to our app and to our workflow."