Murdoch introduces digital Daily for iPad

Dateline: Thu 03 Feb 2011

This is from the New York Times today, written by Jeremy W. Peters and Brian Stelter. You can subscribe to The Daily on your iPad for 99 cents a week or $40 a year. The goal here is to "try to reinvent the business model for news publishing," so pay attention. Any iPad users out there who will get this? (I want an iPad).

Thanks to Nic Martin for sending this yesterday, altho I like the NYT story this morning a bit better...more info.

Here's the Times on the future:

"Rupert Murdoch on Wednesday pushed the send button on The Daily, a news application designed for the iPad that he hopes will position his News Corporation front and center in the digital newsstand of the future.

“'New times demand new journalism,' Mr. Murdoch said on stage at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York before an audience of reporters, media executives, employees and advertising partners.

"The Daily will be a first of its kind for tablet computers: a general interest publication that will refresh every morning and will bill customers’ credit cards each week for 99 cents or each year for $40.

"In journalistic and marketing ambition and scope, The Daily recalls USA Today when it began in 1982: a publication of no city or region that aspires to be a first-read in the homes of millions of Americans despite having no brand recognition.

"The Daily takes that same sensibility to the digital age by trying to enliven the printed word with photographs, video and interactive features that work seamlessly together.

“'This is about as close as you’re going to get to the first big test of content on the iPad,' said Mike Vorhaus, the president of the media consulting firm Magid Advisors.

"For Mr. Murdoch and the News Corporation, The Daily represents something far grander and more ambitious than a new business undertaking: it is an opportunity to try to reinvent the business model for news publishing.

“'There’s a growing segment of the population here and around the world that is educated and sophisticated that does not read national print newspapers or watch television news,' said Mr. Murdoch, the owner of television stations and newspapers around the world. 'We can and we must make the business of newsgathering and editing viable again.'

"With vibrant photos, crisp black-on-white text and high-definition video, The Daily is pan-media — a news Web site, a glossy magazine and a network newscast. Its articles run the gamut from breaking global news to feature writing.

"It has the sensibility of a tabloid. There is a separate section for gossip, which is listed as the second section, after news. 'Only in The Daily' boasted a brightly colored bubble superimposed over one article in Wednesday’s edition. A headline accompanying an article about the crisis in Egypt blared in a large, boldface font: “Falling Pharaoh.”

"Mr. Murdoch indicated that The Daily was intended for a generation of consumers who expect “content tailored to their specific interests to be available anytime, anywhere.”

"But the generation of readers that has grown accustomed to curating the abundance of news content on the Internet rather than reading it in one daily or weekly publication has also grown accustomed to having it free.

The Daily’s price is deliberately low. Available only on iPads, it will be free to users for the first two weeks, courtesy of a sponsorship deal with Verizon. After that, it will cost 99 cents a week (or “14 cents a day,” as Mr. Murdoch put it), or $39.99 a year.

"With roughly 15 million iPads already sold, the pool of potential customers is not yet large enough to yield the kinds of returns that the News Corporation would need to quickly recoup its initial investment in The Daily — roughly $30 million. Mr. Murdoch said the costs of producing The Daily would be around $500,000 a week, relatively low because it requires none of the machinery needed to produce and distribute a printed news product.

“'Our ambitions are very big, but our costs are very low,” Mr. Murdoch said. Subscriptions will make up the bulk of The Daily’s revenue at first. Advertising will make up a smaller piece. So far HBO, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Range Rover are among those to have signed on.

"The endeavor has the full weight of the News Corporation behind it, a fact underscored by Mr. Murdoch’s appearance at The Daily’s debut reception. Fox News, part of the News Corporation, broke into coverage of the civil unrest in Egypt to carry the event live. In response to viewer comments that Fox News was covering the news conference because the business was owned by the same boss, Neil Cavuto, the business anchor said, “that might have something to do with it.”

"The News Corporation has cultivated a close relationship with Apple and its co-founder Steven P. Jobs, who agreed to allow recurring subscriptions of The Daily as part of an arrangement that stood to benefit fledgling projects at both companies, according to one person with direct knowledge of the discussions about The Daily’s development. This person spoke only on the condition of anonymity because the conversations were intended to be confidential.

"The News Corporation agreed last year to make Fox programs available on Apple TV for 99 cents, making it the only network other than ABC to do so. Apple in turn agreed to throw its considerable muscle behind The Daily, this person said. Mr. Jobs said he would appear at the debut event alongside Mr. Murdoch, but Mr. Jobs was absent, having recently taken a medical leave from Apple.

"Mr. Murdoch has taken great interest in the development of The Daily from its earliest stages. His appearances in The Daily’s offices at the News Corporation’s Manhattan headquarters have been a common sight for staff members, who see him there about once or twice a week meeting with top managers.

"The Daily’s importance within the company was underscored further on Tuesday when the company named its new chief technology officer: John McKinley, the executive who oversaw The Daily’s design.

"Mr. Murdoch had initially planned to call it The Daily Planet, after the fictional newspaper that employed Clark Kent in the Superman comics. But DC Comics would not agree to grant the rights to use the name, said a person with knowledge of the project’s development, and the News Corporation settled for The Daily instead.

"As groundbreaking as The Daily is, it is also freighted with risks. Whether consumers will regularly pay for news content on their tablets is far from certain. Sales of iPad applications for magazines have been uneven, and many newspapers give their applications away free.

"And as with many first-generation innovations — the Newton tablet from Apple, the Internet service Prodigy and the EV1 electric car from General Motors — there is always the risk that The Daily is ahead of its time.

“'There’s always the danger you’ll be too first,' said Alan D. Mutter, a media consultant and writer of the blog Reflections of a Newsosaur. “Remember Friendster. Friendster turned out to be roadkill.”

"Other publishers, which have been pressuring Apple to allow them to sell subscriptions through the App Store, are hoping The Daily is a turning point for how news applications are sold and distributed to consumers. With few exceptions — one being The Wall Street Journal, another News Corporation product — Apple has not allowed media companies to sell more than one issue at a time through its App Store.

"Apple’s vice president in charge of iTunes, Eddy Cue, who appeared with Mr. Murdoch at the Guggenheim on Wednesday, said Apple would have an announcement “very soon” regarding subscriptions for other news publications, but he did not say when or whether the arrangement that The Daily had would be extended to others.

"Analysts said that because the scale of The Daily’s business would be small at first, the News Corporation should expect success to build slowly.

“'Even if you did a great job of creating an app that people pay for, success will come in small numbers,' said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research. 'I think they need to take the long view.'


Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I want an iPad, too. But they're not cheap, and the wireless companies have upped their data charges. The hidden fees behind a daily newspaper, could amount to another $20-30 on my current cell plan.

And just TRY to call ATT and ask or complain about those charges. It's phone hell.

If I weren't an ATT stockholder I'd have left long ago. Their bills are fiction, their customer service "reps" have names like "Irene" and "Jimmy" and I've discovered they're sitting in india or the Philippines. I'm not a Xenophobe, but their command of the language is testy, at best, and they have only a few answers, which I suspect are written for them.

Four or five answers, despite the question. And if you go into an ATT store to try to get help, those folks shuffle you off. They're paid on commission to sell, not solve problems.

Stepping off soapbox.

2011-02-03 07:27:08

varangianguard [unverified] said:

I'm not an iAnything convert, so I guess I'll have to live without this. ;)

2011-02-03 07:58:38

ruthholl [Member] said:

That's some good inside track info....on ATT. I do know one woman with an iPad; she is a dedicated Appple consumer. She said she paid about $600 for it, and she uses it extensively in her day-care operation (12 preschoolers). "Best investment I ever made," she says, because there are all these aps that are educational and entertaining for the kids.
But the hidden costs, whoohee. Fuggidabout it.

2011-02-03 08:03:18

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ask your friend how she connects to the web, Ruthie. Ask her what that costs.

Cell companies have figured out how to stay has far removed from their consumer as they can--once they sell you the hardware. They don't WANT to deal with you in person. It costs extra to pay your bill with a human being at ATT stores. Seriously. They want you to use their internet hook-in or the in-store ATM.

2011-02-03 08:13:07

ruthholl [Member] said:


2011-02-03 08:17:24

hendy [Member] said:

A few things to remember here:

1) AT&T is actually Southwest Bell with lipstick.
2) Verizon is an ok alternative if you want the iPad
3) you don't need either, you can get a wifi iPad IF YOU NEED ONE.
4) Rupert Murdoch is the most example of non-journalism in the publishing world. He turns most things to crap, including the WSJ, MySpace, and the oxymoron known as Fox News.
5) As a tech writer and journalist, I can tell you that all of his paywalls have FAILED so far, and so will this one.
6) You all sucked in the PR tsunami generated over this, whereas it's actually not the new hope for journalism, rather, a way to make Steve and Rupert richer; it is essentially valueless, and the marketplace will prove that.

The iPad is an entertainment consumption device. Its success revolves around that, and my dealings with Apple reinforce this. Don't make the iPad into something it's not.

2011-02-03 08:29:33

ruthholl [Member] said:

I am so ashamed.
But then, when one learns something, perhaps all is not lost.
Thanks, guys.
Also, I like "PR tsunami."

2011-02-03 10:36:32

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

PR tsunami, as in: Frank Straub? Jim Irsay over-inbibing on Rx? Myra, we hardly knew ye.

Hendy: please elaborate: wiFi iPad. Cost, type, talk to me like I'm an idiot.

SW Bell with lipstick. LMAO. Still, a porker. I was in NYC last month with my iPhone...which, by the way, I hate but can't abandon lest the ATT police seize my home...I don't know how New Yorkers aren't marching with pitchforks on ATT. They're not known for patience in NYC. Coverage was...well...I saw a guy standing on a corner on one leg because he said it improved coverage. I'm not kidding.

I offered him some tin foil from my Arby's sandwich, so he could wrap it around his glasses for better reception.

2011-02-03 14:31:32

Jason [unverified] said:

I think it's safe to say at this point that everybody has given up on actually profiting from the news itself.

The idea of charging money to make more convenient something that's already out there for free isn't new. I don't see it lasting in this medium, because there are already people out there doing it like the Drudge Report, Huffington Post, etc.

Then again, I went to the Apple outlet in the fashion mall last year and encountered no less than 80 Apple employees in the store. None of them were actually there to provide customer service, it seemed as if there were more like models, each one sporting an iPod, iPad, iPhone, or iMac something or other. Strange, but I guess it works for them.

2011-02-04 04:30:31

JimH [unverified] said:

After reading the first two 'papers' I am impressed, and the price is low.

I guess time will tell, I hope it works.


2011-02-04 07:30:57

hendy [Member] said:

All iPads can use WiFi. You have to either buy one that doesn't have a contract, meaning the 3G contract is expired, or get the model without it. Then put a WiFi access point into your house connected to your broadband cable or DSL connection. Use that instead of the ATT 3G signals that cost $$$.

Get them on eBay where the seller has a Paypal guarantee, so that you have recourse if the unit is dead, or scratched, or something weird that's not in their description. They cost about $400 on a good day. Or, find a way to get out of your iPad ATT mandator contract... or get the Verizon version of the iPad, but it's not such a great deal because of the contract. WiFi is all you need unless you want to be really mobile with it, meaning not at a Starbucks or other free WiFi hotspot place.

2011-02-04 10:07:53

ruthholl [Member] said:

Hendy, invaluable info. Thank you.

2011-02-04 11:11:33

John M [unverified] said:

I got an Ipad for Christmas and probably wouldn't have bought one otherwise, but I like it. It's best to think of it as a laptop without a keyboard, not as a mobile device such as an iphone. I am certain that the woman who uses it for her daycare business connects to the internet via her DSL or cable wireless connection for ~$20 a month or whatever it costs these days. Sure, if she wants to have a connection when she is away from a free wireless connection, then it will cost. But that is the same as any ordinary laptop. Mobile internet access is expensive, but it's far from essential for the home use of an Ipad. Because it was a gift, the Ipad hasn't cost me a dime in "hidden costs." I use it via the home connection I had already.

My verdict on the ipad is that it's great for consuming and not so great for interacting. Typing is a hassle, but for video, consumption of news, and so on, it's fantastic.

2011-02-08 09:28:03

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