Five things to know about News Corp’s The Daily iPad app

Feb 2, 2011
Tech

After investing several months and $30 million to develop a 21st century “newspaper”, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his company News Corporation (NWS) today unveiled its long-anticipated iPad app The Daily. “New times demand new journalism,” said the 79-year-old Murdoch, who parlayed a family-owned newspaper in Australia into an international empire which includes the The […]

After investing several months and $30 million to develop a 21st century “newspaper”, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his company News Corporation (NWS) today unveiled its long-anticipated iPad app The Daily.

“New times demand new journalism,” said the 79-year-old Murdoch, who parlayed a family-owned newspaper in Australia into an international empire which includes the The Fox Broadcasting Network, The Wall Street Journal and British Satellite Broadcasting. “The iPad demands that we completely re-imagine our craft.”

After mixed success launching and acquiring Internet ventures over the last decade and a half – most notably MySpace – News Corp today enters the tablet space with a very public endorsement from Apple (AAPL) during a press conference held at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

So, what will consumers uncover after downloading The Daily? Here are five things to know about one of the most ambitious iPad apps to date.

With thirty million bucks, you can create a state-of-the-art iPad app

The look, feel and layout of The Daily is stunning. The app will likely appeal to “old school” newspaper lovers who appreciate the “serendipity” of finding a story out of the blue as well as the RSS-driven media junkie who wants information served to them in dynamic, customizable bites.

The content and articles are of very high quality, produced by a staff of world class journalists and content creators. There is no overt political bias. Loading times are also quick, contributing to a great user experience.

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The Daily promises to deliver more than 100 pages of original content each day. There is more than enough quality content to keep you interested.

The Daily is free to download, but its future will depend on your 14 cents per day

The publishing industry has anticipated with great interest the debut of The Daily, as Murdoch is betting that a subscription-based publication will can exist in tablet form. When the iPad debuted last April, publishers were salivating at the notion of being able to charge for content in digital form on the iPad (after giving most of it away online). While some subscription-based apps have succeeded on the iPad, notably the News corp-owned The Wall Street Journal, most consumers have refused to pay for content they could likely access in similar forms online for free.

The convenience, exclusivity and high production values of The Daily could influence enough readers to fork up a buck a week annual subscription, but there’s no guarantee. The Daily also includes advertising, which Murdoch believes should be sold at a premium as its target audience already has the disposable income to buy an iPad and pay for what is now a discretionary item.

Android tablet owners are out of luck – for now

Consumers planning to purchase a new Motorola (MMI) Xoom or one of the scores of other Google (GOOG) Android-based tablet computers that will run the new Honeycomb operating system won’t be able to tap into The Daily anytime soon. Murdoch said the app will be iPad-only through the remainder of this year and next.

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The Daily won’t be state-of-the-art forever

The one thing we know about apps and mobile media innovation is that it’s hard to maintain a cutting edge position for too long. New competition from both startups and major media players is just an Apple approval away. Last summer, the developers of the free Flipboard app re-imagined how information could be exchanged through social connections. In the early days of the App Store, apps like Shazam and Layar Reality Browser showed us new ways to navigate life with our phones and mobile devices. Be sure sure the next innovation from Silicon Valley, Madison Avenue or perhaps the neighbor’s basement is just around the corner.

The future of journalism is the present of journalism

The favorite thing journalists like to write about is the future of their own industry. A combination of the 2008 financial meltdown and media consumption patterns permanently migrating online forever changed newspapers and the traditional publishing industries. Nothing, not even Rupert Murdoch’s $30 million new toy, will bring us back to a mass media-oriented society.

Technological innovation empowers the news consumers to access information in their own way and on their own time. A 21st century broadsheet like The Daily, while a welcome indulgence to many, won’t be an industry game-changer.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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