By Chris Hogg
News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch unveiled his company’s vision for the future news publication today and it’s called “The Daily.” The publication is available only on the Apple iPad and represents News Corp.’s vision for the future of digital media.
“New times demand new journalism,” said Murdoch. “The devices that modern engineering have put in our hands demand a new service edited and designed for them. Our challenge was to take the best of journalism and combine it with the best of contemporary technology.”
During the press conference, News Corp. showed off some of the app’s unique features: 360-degree photos let readers see everything from a specific location; high-definition video; graphics that respond to touch; full customization with the ability to pull-in custom content that matters to a reader; and the ability to share content via email, Twitter or Facebook.
“There’s a growing segment of the population that is educated and sophisticated that does not read national newspapers or watch television news,” said Murdoch. “But they do consume media, and they expect content to be available to them any time and anywhere.”
From a business standpoint, Murdoch said The Daily has cost $30 million to get to where it is and operating costs will be less than $500,000 per week. Murdoch said profitability is easier to achieve because costs are much lower than those associated with traditional news publications.
“We can and we must make the business of news-gathering and editing viable again,” said Murdoch. “Our aim is for The Daily to be the indispensable source for news, information and entertainment. [There is] no paper, no multimillion-dollar process, no trucks,” said Murdoch. “We’re passing on these savings to the reader.”
The Daily will cost 14 cents per day, or 99 cents per week. Yearly subscriptions are available for $39.99.
Murdoch said The Daily is not a legacy brand moving from the print to the digital world so the company will have license to experiment, a commitment to innovation and “a responsibility to evolve and respond to customer’s need.”
App details, features and content
News Corp. Chief Digital Officer, Jon Miller, said The Daily will produce up to 100 pages of content per day using all types of media. When viewing content, readers can zoom out and view stories in a carousel view or shuffle through content they haven’t read yet. Voice overs offer readers the chance to hear content and a video anchor will host some stories similar to how a TV news anchor reads news.
Readers can clip articles, save text, record audio comments or email content. Content within the app will hyperlink to the outside Web and Twitter feeds will be imported to stories. For example, an article about a particular athlete or celebrity will offer a direct, embedded Twitter feed so readers can hear the latest news from that individual within the app.
Customization is also a big part of The Daily: In the sports section, for example, readers can select schedules, scores, stories, photos, etc. and individual teams. The section then shows them up-to-date news and Twitter feeds for their favourite teams and individuals rather than one big generic sports feed. The Daily publishes each morning and content is updated throughout the day, including breaking news.
News Corp. says a mirror-image of The Daily content will be available online but many features will be iPad-only. Content can be shared via social networks so friends can consume individual stories or photos for free, but readers who go directly to the website will hit a paywall and be prompted to pay for content.
According to reports, The Daily boasts a dedicated staff of 100 people. The app is designed to be aesthetically unique, offering news, content, visuals and video in new ways.
Murdoch has reportedly been showing off The Daily to potential advertisers and friends in recent weeks, including guests at a cocktail party at his apartment last night.
Yesterday, News Corp. announced John McKinley has been appointed Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and President of Technology for the organization’s digital media group. McKinley previously served as the CTO of AOL.
Apple introduces new subscription model for App Store
The Daily has been talked about widely in media circles, as journalists, pundits, analysts and observers watch to see how a digital-only publication is received by the public. Some believe apps will hurt print subscriptions in the future, so News Corp. is pushing to establish a digital audience.
The launch of The Daily is being marked as a significant event in media circles because it brings with it a new subscription option from Apple to allow publishers to get the digital equivalent of recurring magazine or newspaper subscription revenue.
Prior to the launch of The Daily, an iOS user could pay for an app and download it to their iPod, iPhone or iPad but it was a one-time charge only. There have been “in-app” purchase options, but that feature was not designed with publishers in mind. With the exception of the Wall Street Journal, Apple has not allowed media organizations to sell more than one issue via the App Store.
“We’ve included a whole new subscription billing that’s as easy as one click,” said Apple’s Eddy Cue. “We think iPad customers are really going to embrace this.”
Apple said The Daily is the first publication to take advantage of this new subscription option and that other publishers will be able to in the near future. Cue declined to say when that will happen.
Apple has sold more than 15 million iPads the company says iPad customers are huge consumers of news, downloading more than 200 million news apps to date.
When asked if News Corp. plans to make The Daily available on other tablets, Murdoch confirmed the company plans to, but he did not specify when. “As other tablets get established, we will develop [The Daily] to go on them,” he said. “We believe last year, this year and maybe next year belong to Apple.”