My 1/09/11 Missoulian column:
Last week, I covered how Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp. is starting a new “newspaper” called The Daily.
The Daily will be an “app” for Apple’s iPad, which means it can only be read on the iPad. When The Daily launches this month, it will be sent to subscribers’ iPad each morning for 99 cents a week.
Murdoch seems to be gambling on what he sees as a desire for a simpler online news source that is published once a day. And he’s assuming the iPad – the hot Apple tablet touch-screen computer – is the best and only format for The Daily.
Murdoch is banking on this new move with a $30 million startup investment. And unlike other publications, The Daily will have no companion website or hard paper edition.
The Daily will depend on a new feature at Apple’s iTunes store, called “push” subscription, where each new edition of the paper will show up on customers’ iPads every morning.
Naysayers point to Murdoch’s terrible track record with Internet ventures. Past online news ventures he started quickly closed down. And when he put up pay walls at his large British newspapers for Web access (where readers pay to read) the online subscribers rate tanked.
Those happy with the concept of The Daily say that Murdoch, rather than treating his online ventures as simply forms of broadcasting for advertising revenue, as in the past, is now looking at the online world in terms of communication and presentation of media.
And they say that having The Daily on Apple’s iPad – where it seems almost everything is made of gold – will make news reading easy again. No news feeds to subscribe to, no fooling with Web browsers and bookmarks. You won’t have to do a thing except grab the iPad and read.
But this past fall, sales of apps for popular magazines fell 50 percent. True, those were companion apps for magazines that also exist both in hard copy and free on websites, so they weren’t like The Daily, that will exist only as an app.
If The Daily takes off and the “push” of the iTunes store works well, it’s possible that Apple will become a game changer for news and media in the same way that they turned the music industry on its head.
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