iPads are often heralded as the future of newspapers and magazines, which may very well be true, but be sure to remember that journalism in tablet-form is still pretty young. Case in point: news apps on the iPad still make a fraction of the revenue that print circulation does.
According to app analytics company Distimo, "more than $70K USD is already being made daily by the top 100 grossing Newsstand applications in the United States." For clarification, "Newsstand" is a section of the iPad's app menu that houses and organizes most apps published by media outlets, such as The Daily and The New Yorker, but not some others (including, at least on our iPad and some others', The Atlantic). On the one hand, considering that Newsstand has been around for only six months, $70,000 a day doesn't seem too shabby for news outlets struggling with profitability. On the other hand, the reason newspapers and magazines are so cash-strapped is because of declining print sales, and the small percentage of that $70,000-a-day won't help them too much.
Consider The New York Times, which has the second highest-grossing Newsstand app after News Corporation and Apple's The Daily, available to download for free with ads and some content. (A digital subscription is required for all content.) In 2011, The Times raked in $705 million annually, or $1.9 million a day, in circulation, both in print and digitally, and $756 million in advertising, or $2.1 million a day. So whatever share of that daily $70,000 The Times brings in from selling its app on Newsstand is (right now) a very tiny portion of revenue compared to income from print circulation.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.