Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

Summary: News Corp. has launched its iPad newspaper dubbed the Daily and the effort will be closely watched. The Daily is either the rebirth of the newspaper or another overfunded launch like Conde Nast Portfolio.

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TOPICS: Apple, iPad, Mobility
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News Corp. has launched its iPad newspaper dubbed the Daily and the effort will be closely watched. The Daily is either the rebirth of the newspaper or another overfunded launch like Conde Nast Portfolio.

Screenshots: The Daily launch

Of course, the Daily could turn out to be something in between. The big point here is that the fate of the Daily will be determined in months and years from now. In fact, the subscriptions will tell the tale over time. One day of hype doesn't make a new paradigm for traditional media.

Add it up and we have no idea whether the Daily is the moment for traditional media or just another effort fumbling toward mobile app ecstasy.

As I noted in my Kindle Single, 2011 is the year of media subscriptions. The rub is we don't know whether consumers will go along for the ride. It's quite possible that 2011 will merely be the year of trying to do media subscriptions. Simply put, the New York Times pay wall and the Daily will be closely watched efforts.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan, who has been watching this space for a long time, outlined the ledger for News Corp.'s Daily, Rupert Murdoch's pet project. Here's the breakdown.

Pros:

  • News Corp. has the resources to differentiate the Daily. If News Corp. can meld newspaper, cable, studio and Internet assets the Daily could sing. Indeed, the presentation outlining the Daily was heavy on the video.
  • Apple is a great ally. Apple's support for subscriptions in iTunes is quite the enabler.
  • News Corp. is playing offense, which is a good thing.
  • Subscribing to a daily publication makes more sense on the iPad and 99 cents a week---$39.99 for a year---won't break the bank.

Cons:

  • It's going to take time for consumers to accept an iPad newspaper. Sure, early adopters will check it out. Then what?
  • Early hype doesn't turn into market share, revenue or cash flow instantly.
  • Apple is controlling. Rest assured that News Corp. and Apple will clash down the road over apps and subscriptions. That fact could chill the market for other iPad publishers.
  • Ads will matter. Subscriptions alone won't support the Daily alone, but will carry the day initially. What will the ad picture look like and how will the details be handled with News Corp. and Apple?

Topics: Apple, iPad, Mobility

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74 comments
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  • Months, maybe-but not years.

    I'm not sure any product has "years" to prove itself anymore. With Quarterly results numbers becoming events in themselves and senior management under intense pressure to provide constant growth, I don't think anyone is willing to give anything more than a few months to show success.

    The Xbox is an excellent example of what most companies are unwilling to do. Over the course of development Microsoft poured [b]billions[/b] of dollars into the project, with nothing but losses to show for [i]years[/i]. Now it's generating some returns, but nothing compared to its costs. Analysts look at the "time value" of that money, and they realize that Microsoft would have been better off putting the money in Treasury notes, or some other cash equivalent, and generated more income. That's one of the reasons that despite making tons of money Microsoft stock has been essentially flat for five years.
    matthew_maurice
  • Can it deliver more than we have now?

    There is a wealth of news available today on the internet. This might be where The Daily faces real competition. If there is a news story in, say, Hong Kong we are interested in we can go to a local paper's site. If we don't know the link there is Google or thepaperboy.com to provide links.

    That's huge competition.

    On the positive side, iPad customers are not necessarily the tightest of folks, money wise. There will be a willingness to give The Daily a chance and, if they like what they see, will generally pay out 99? a week.

    As for Apple, I believe that they will generate decent revenues from the in-app subscription model.

    And the work done on The Daily will provide good examples for the competitive platforms.

    Overall it's a winner - but a slow one.
    Ken_z
    • The Daily

      I live in a small college town that just had a serious crime, something really out of the norm. The younger set 25 and below, went to Facebook and Twitter to find out what was going on - i.e. The local TV news interview a large number of this younger set and all said the same thing, that the "social media sites" were where they all went to get the news on this crime and these sites is where they ALWAYS GO for there news. Could be a problem for The Daily and Apple
      michael@...
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @michael@...

        They went to social media sites?

        Sounds like a failure for the younger set. "Big event happened? I'm going to go to the least reliable possible source of data where the good information is going to be buried under volumes of speculation, invention, and lies."
        SlithyTove
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @michael@... is this college town in Egypt, by any chance?
        jmwells21
    • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

      @Ken_z You are overlooking the fact that Apple have a billion app downloads, may 50% of the apps do what any moron with a browser can do if they are even slightly clued up. Lots of people will choose it because of the colours.
      MrBeck
    • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

      @Ken_z
      I cannot agree.
      While this may be the first periodical, unless I can get a subscription at a reduced price there is no way I will buy into this.
      Expensive foolishness.
      :(
      rhonin
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @zenwalker
        Just viewed two days worth of "The Daily".

        IMO, the content is worth 40 dollars a year. One gets what one pays for.

        The first two weeks are free. After that, its time to subscribe.

        I respect your opinion, Zenwalker, but experience trumps opinion in this case.
        kenosha77a
  • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

    Aren't we overlooking the fact that it's owned by News Corp.?
    hoaxoner
    • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

      @hoaxoner

      Indeed... That fact alone killed it for me. A newspaper should contain, ya'know, like, actual NEWS. News Corp. doesn't DO actual news.
      anthonyb@...
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @anthonyb@...
        So the WSJ is not real news?

        The WSJ is owned by News Corp. WSJ Online has 400,000 paying subscribers.
        Mark@...
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @Mark@...

        The WSJ has valuable business information not found many other places. That's why the pay wall works for WSJ and, in fact, that's mostly what they wall off.

        The political news - stuff you can find everywhere - is not walled off.

        The Daily is going to have to have a lot of unique content if it's going to fly.



        :)
        none none
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @Mark<br>The Wall Street Journal was a publication long before Murdoch got a hold of it. Essentially, he kept everything the same except for the op-ed area, which as we are all aware is insane.

        In fact, Murdoch bought Dow Jones in 2007, not that long ago....

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wall_Street_Journal#News_Corp._purchase
        hoaxoner
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @Mark@...

        No, WSJ isn't real news. It is anti-science, anti-regulation, and anti-reality. When Murdoch boght the paper, he promised to keep his views to the opinion page. That lasted until he replaced the editors with a bunch of hacks that select storied based on pushing a right-wing agenda. Yes, the still have good infographics and some topical news, but taken as a whole, its just as much a propaganda channel as Fox News or that business channel that a couple of dozen people watch.
        gnomic
    • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

      @hoaxoner I'd take News Corp. any way of the week over NBC Universal or just about any other corporation offering news today. The one exception would be the BBC.
      Tiggster
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @Tiggster I have to say I think BBC is the only news organization that I would pay for a subscription to- if it ever came to that.
        jmwells21
      • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

        @Tiggster which is why NewsCorp devotes so much space to any story that's even remotely anti-BBC. In the UK, Murdoch owns just 40% of "Sky" (satellite is commoner here than cable) and wants to buy the other 60%. If he succeeds, he plans to close down Sky's (rather good, and very BBC-like) News channel, and replace it with a clone of Fox News. One has to hope that his purchase WILL be blocked.
        BigRonW
    • That's a simple-minded view...

      Look, if you can't tell news from views, then you forgot to take common sense lessons when you were growing up.<br><br>No matter what the source for news or information, there will always be some form of bias embedded within the contents, some of those views being very subtle and some of those views meeting your preferences. <br><br>But, what, pray tell, is a source that you find "unbiased"?

      From what I've heard from you before, everything is biased if it doesn't meet with your far-left agenda.
      adornoe
    • RE: Is News Corp.'s iPad Daily a killer app?

      @hoaxoner
      Well, not overlooked here. But, clearly, you do not want to hear both sides of current events.

      That this is coming from News Corp is a huge positive in that I expect to see views that I both agree with and that I'd like thrown in the bit-bucket. That's why I also pay for:
      * Paper copies of the Wall Street Journal
      * WSJ.Com

      If News Corp will become as broad based as their news is, and reject the same exclusivity that Apple exhibited with the iPhone, I'll send my first year's payment on the spot. But, I guess I look at Apple the same way you appear to look at News Corp. Too controlling; too restrictive; too one-view oriented.

      I know I'm wishing on a star, but since it appears that 'The Daily' is already somewhat hooked into VZW instead of AT&T, I'm half-way there. Now I want to see an implementation on whatever 'WebOS pad' comes out from HP/Palm on 09-Feb.
      MCGJr
  • If the Daily ...

    ... comes to other tablet platforms, has a highly differentiated user experience from the web, and has a reasonable amount of exclusive content, I believe it will do well.

    One thing I believe publishers should generally do, is allow users to archive their article files to folders on private or public clouds. This would allow users to go back and read articles with their reader software, if their subscriptions expire. In fact I believe that consumer groups should press Congress, to ensure that this takes place. One other thing I believe consumer groups should do, is press Congress to make it illegal for IP rights holders, to implement IP terms of use (generally implemented via DRM) that run counter to consumers' fair use rights. Also Congress should never allow terms of use to be changed after purchase, unless the consumer agrees to it.
    P. Douglas