Predicting if Murdoch’s iPad Daily will be the salvation of newspapers is a crapshoot

The board on which the news media plays is constantly moving and the only certainty might be that most newspapers are toast and that whatever we predict today will be history tomorrow.

So it’s curious that Rupert Murdoch — who’s in the process of purposefully eliminating his newspapers’ online audiences — is banking a chunk of NewsCorp’s future on a newspaper, albeit an electronic one.

NewsCorp and Apple are reportedly set to announce details of a jointly developed project — a daily newspaper built expressly for iPad-like devices. No print version, no Web version (but “The Daily,” as it’s being called, is likely to be heavily promoted, and its features teased, on both platforms). NewsCorp is said to have invested $30 million in the launch, and has assembled a staff of 100, including five-star journalists, so that The Daily will feature mostly original content (plus, presumably, at least some Fox video).

With each day’s Daily expected to cost 99 cents at the iTunes store, its sales scheme replicates the single-copy hawking of newspapers on newsstands. The product will publish once a day with just minor refreshing between “press runs” (a departure from the Web’s frenetic minute-by-minute updates).

Mediaphiles should have learned by now not to bet against Murdoch in any game, particularly the newspaper game for which Murdoch has a special fondness, and there are sound arguments on both sides.

In a Mashable post on Sunday, Ben Par asks, “Is Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-Only Newspaper the Future of Journalism?” His conclusion: “Murdoch Gets It”:

While I may not like some of Murdoch’s ideas, (see Murdoch: Take Your Google Ball and Go Home), I give credit where it’s due. Murdoch’s commitment to a digital future for journalism is commendable and forward-thinking. He realizes more than his competitors that the future of news isn’t in propping up print publications, but creating truly immersive digital experiences. He may very well be creating the template that brings other newspapers into a profitable digital age.

Meanwhile, David Carr in today’s NY Times is less enthusiastic:

If you want a good look at the past and future of the News Corporation, compare the Web site of The New York Post — surely one of the ugliest, least functional in the business — with its snappy new iPad app. It’s a charming product, one that well reflects and amplifies the spice and excesses of the mother brand.

The night-and-day bifurcation is understandable given that Mr. Murdoch has never entirely trusted the Web, with its terrible advertising economics and brutal fight for revenue from consumers.

If nothing else, the arrival of The Daily early next year will likely push me into the legions of iPad-totters (while I’m a reasonably early adopter, I try to wait at least until Apple’s first post-launch hardware revision before buying).

Meanwhile, I await speculation on The Daily’s prospective impact on the 2012 elections. FoxNews revolutionized television news and helped set the tone and slant of political discourse for all media; can we expect The Daily — itself a revolutionizing vehicle — to do any less?

• • •

Click here for additional reporting from The Guardian UK.


26 responses to “Predicting if Murdoch’s iPad Daily will be the salvation of newspapers is a crapshoot

  1. I’d rather just go to a local newspapers website for free and get my news.

  2. You know, at least Murdoch is practicing what he preaches. I worked for Gannett for many years, and the corporate philosophy dictated the need for us to be “nimble.” But that was ONLY a word for buzzword bingo and not the reality of their approach — the electronic distribution of info was always the last thing they considered!

  3. Pingback: Predicting if Murdoch’s iPad Daily will be the salvation of newspapers is a crapshoot

  4. Of course, runtobefit, where will you turn when the local newspaper websites also go behind a paywall?

  5. just watch the daily show and colbert report, who needs real news!?

  6. technology these days is crazy with the ipad, iphone and i-everything i think that using the internet is the best source of news these days. or people could just walk a few blocks to obtain a newspaper.

  7. Really!? I’ll get my newspaper, Thank You very much!

  8. dearexgirlfriend … I think Jon Stewart is the best “news” interviewer on TV … and those of us who watch the Daily Show (less so w/Colbert) can pick up a lot of newslike information. Presumably, we’re supplementing that diet w/newspapers or online sources … but if we end up relying on “fake” news for our informational diet, the country will be in worse shape than it is now. (Plus, there’s no local news on the Daily Show and Colbert. Someday, maybe there’ll be a hyperlocal Comedy Central!)

  9. Wow, enjoibeing and Evie Garone … I’m pleased to see newspaper fans sticking up for the old reliables! In the long run, though, newspapers (with a few premium exceptions) are likely to be less and less available, and offer less and less of the news coverage you’ve come to expect them to have.

  10. Wow, I hadn’t heard about Murdoch’s “Daily” coming out…but then again, I don’t read the newspaper.



  11. everythingneat

    Congratulations on being featured on Freshly Pressed!

    It will be interesting to see how many people actually buy the “Daily” when most of the news is available online at no charge.

  12. In lectures, in symposiums in university, there is a rambling about Journalism and how multiplatforming of the various media has brought about the migration of news media online and the way the individual consumes it has drastically changed. I’m no fan of Rupert to be honest but in all objectivity, the future of journalism is becoming digital whether we like it or not. That’s where all the money will be made.

  13. theroehamptonlanejournal — Yes, the future is overwhelmingly digital. So Murdoch’s well-financed and well-staffed production of an entirely digital “newspaper” (with very little “multiplatforming”) is eagerly awaited.

  14. This is an interesting concept. Kindle etc are making real inroads into books sales. It seems logical that newspapers will go the same way. Good post.

  15. I spend way too much time on the computer as it is. And television news — thanks in no small part to Murdoch’s heavily biased agenda — hasn’t been reliable for years. Real journalism still exists, but we’re forcing it out as part of the digital revolution.

    I can name about fifteen things I read in a newspaper that would take me ten times longer to find online — if I can find them at all — and they wouldn’t all be in one place. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I still prefer the printed word. It will be a sad day if the only “newspaper” that remains is a digital version of Rupert Murdoch’s conservative manifesto.

  16. Wait….99¢ a day? vs. free internet news or T.V.?
    Good luck with that.

  17. The product will publish once a day with just minor refreshing between “press runs” How 20th century is that? Why would I want to buy a product that so closely replicates the static dead-tree experience of a printed newspaper when Google News, let alone TV and radio news, will keep me constantly up to dte with what is happening?

  18. Interesting idea, but can anyone really imagine people using an ipad on the train into work every morning?

    The ipad is not a practical device for a daily commute, the size alone does not make the deliverance of social media and the print media more accesible and mobile.

  19. Once a day publication? Nothing like completely ignoring the characteristics of the medium you’re working in and calling it “innovative.” Murdoch never ceases to amaze me with this stuff. And the people who jump right on the bandwagon every time he says something that doesn’t make any sense give the realities of the internet as opposed to his fairytale internet where he thinks he has some kind of control over how people act online. This is about the tenth time he’s “saved the world” for publishers, isn’t it?

  20. Own your life,be financialy dependent,debt free,enjoy a vacation you cannot afford……for details contact:+23480-37971847.

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  21. Really, Murdoch’s breakthrough will be to emulate the traditional newspaper, including publishing time and interval, along with subscription based delivery, electronically? What a bold use of new media! This just sounds like an attempt to continue the regular practices of news publishing, minus the cost of paper and physical distribution, using Apple’s distribution mechanisms to assure content protection. Wow Rupert, you are a visionary!

  22. I guess I’ll have to get my iPad geared up for this, and the 99 cents are easy enough for me. I won’t have to buy a newspaper on the way to school because I don’t get to read it in the morning. I just hope that “The Daily” will have enough newsworthy content. Murdoch’s just manipulating the traditional newspaper and making it electronic.

  23. Pingback: Predicting if Murdoch’s iPad Daily will be the salvation of newspapers is a crapshoot (via Coney Media) « tellyfish

  24. What will dictate the success of that venture is the quality of the journalism provided, not primarily the medium.


  25. This is an interesting concept. Kindle etc are making real inroads into books sales. It seems logical that newspapers will go the same way. Good post.

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