Well, The Daily failed. It wasn’t all that fun while it lasted. And it didn’t last all that long. If everyone had known that it was going to cost $25 million a year to run, it probably would have been easy to predict its eventual failure. At a high level, the reality is simple: the economics didn’t come close to working.
But because the media industry loves nothing more than talking about the media industry, today we have dozens of stories with dozens of reasons for why The Daily failed. Blame News Corp. Blame Rupert Murdoch. Blame Apple. Blame Steve Jobs. Blame Eddy Cue. Blame the iPad. Blame the web. Blame native code. Blame Newsstand. Blame tablets.
As usual, when it comes to things related to Apple, John Gruber comes the closest by keeping the explanation simple: “don’t suck” and “start small”. If you don’t want your tablet-based publication to fail, those mantras should probably be plastered on your wall.
But I also think there are a few more things worth mentioning, which encapsulate the problems with nearly all magazine and newspaper apps. In hindsight, this all should have been obvious, but it may well take the death of The Daily and the launch of Marco Arment’s excellent The Magazine to really paint a clear picture.
First, if your publication is over 100MB, quit immediately, you’ve failed.