‘The Daily’ Makes History – First Digital Newspaper for Tablets


Media mogul Rupert Murdoch made history last Wednesday by flagging off “The Daily”; News Corp.’s iPad centric digital daily. Addressing an audience of reporters, media executives, employees and advertising partners at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Murdoch stated that “New times demand new journalism;” an indication of  the new venture’s importance to News Corp.

The Daily is the first tablet centric newspaper in the world. It will be available as an iPad application and will cost subscribers 99 cents a week or $40 a year. The Daily is positioned as a complete digital newspaper with seamless integration of the text with photographs, videos and other interactive features.

Rupert Murdoch expects The Daily to turn into a totally new business model for News Corp. “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, we can and we must make the business of newsgathering and editing viable again,” remarked Mr. Murdoch pointing to the falling readership and lackluster performance of conventional newspapers.

The Daily will combine traditional news reporting with the fun quotient of a tabloid to attract a wider and more diverse reader-base. Mr. Murdoch stated that The Daily would target readers who want “content tailored to their specific interests to be available anytime, anywhere.”

News Corp has spent over $30 million on The Daily so far – an amount that won’t be recovered easily as The Daily is only available on iPads currently and there are only 15 million iPads users as of now. But with the forthcoming release of the iPad 2, the future may tell a different story altogether. The Daily will generate most of its revenues via subscription fees and advertising is only expected to play a minor role currently. Companies like HBO, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Range Rover are among the first to advertise on The Daily.

News Corp. shares a fledging relationship with Apple Inc. as evident from the fact that it started streaming Fox News on Apple TV last year. Apple has reciprocated by giving The Daily its full support.

Rupert Murdoch has put great emphasis on the development of News Corp.’s first digital newspaper and has been involved with The Daily since its inception. The Daily’s importance to News Corp. was further illustrated by the fact that the company recently chose John McKinley as its CTO; McKinley was deeply involved with The Daily’s design.

While The Daily is an innovative and ground breaking offering from News Corp, its success and effectiveness remain to be seen. The iPad already features a number of magazine apps which have only seen moderate success and a number of newspapers are currently offering their iPad apps entirely free of cost.

Analysts expect The Daily to grow slowly and increase its subscriber base over a period of time. Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, feels that subscriptions for The Daily will grow slowly and expects that News Corp. will take a long term view of The Daily’s success.

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