News Corp launches daily newspaper for iPad

 

Will people buy the Daily? Michelle Fleury takes a look

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News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch is extending his media empire once again - this time with a digital newspaper for the iPad called the Daily.

Mr Murdoch told an audience at the Guggenheim Museum in New York that he hoped it would be an "indispensable source of news" in the tablet era.

The Daily will cost 99 cents (60p) a week and will be sold exclusively via Apple's iTunes store.

The paper will initially only be available in the US.

News Corp has hired about 100 journalists to work on it.

The Daily will feature news articles, interactive graphics, HD videos and 360 degree photos designed to work with the iPad's touchscreen.

Analysis

If you had to characterise the Daily then it is definitely the kind of iPad app which wants to impress - and impress everybody.

Sections include news - reports on Egypt and US snowstorms; gossip - an interview with Natalie Portman and piece on Rihanna; opinion and off-beat features, including a report on New York's doggy disco.

There's so much content it's easy to spend your entire time flicking through pictures and navigating, rather than reading the text of the stories.

The whizz-bang factor is definitely high, utilising much of the iPad's functionality. There are some excellent visual devices including 360-degree photo galleries, stylish videos embedded into pieces and a neat sudoku and crossword puzzle (which requires sign-up).

It can get fiddly though. It is not always clear when to tap or swipe for more content, and on some stories the only way to get to the related picture gallery is by turning the iPad horizontally - the repeated rotation can get a little tiring.

This is billed as a digital newspaper - but the style and layout of the content give it more the feel of a magazine.

It will add Twitter feeds into some articles and offer personalised content.

"Our target audience is the 15 million Americans expected to own iPads in the next year," said Mr Murdoch.

"In the tablet-era there is room for a fresh and robust new voice. New times demand new journalism," he said.

He promised that the Daily would combine the best of contemporary technology with "shoe leather reporting, good editing and a sceptical eye".

According to Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of internet services, 200m news apps have been downloaded and there are 9,000 different news apps to choose from.

Revenue share

It is believed that Apple will use the tie-up with News Corp to change the way it charges for subscriptions.

It means that any publisher offering content via the iPad will have to use Apple's payment method, known as in-app purchase, which in turn means Apple will get a share of the revenue made from any subscriptions.

"That is quite a big deal," said Adrian Drury, principal media analyst at research firm Ovum.

"The specific terms News Corp have negotiated are unknown, but every other publisher now faces paying 30% of their hard won application subscription revenue to Apple," he said.

It follows a tightening of the rules around e-book readers, which will also now be required to offer customers the ability to purchase books from within the app as well as from other sources.

News Corp's move onto the iPad reflects a wider industry appetite for selling device-specific exclusive content, Mr Drury said.

What sets the Daily apart is the fact that it has its own editorial staff.

"Others re-use content but the Daily has hired expensive US journalists and has its own editorial staff," he said.

"Its parent has deep pockets, and this is going to buy it time to build an audience and refine its model," he added.

Others who have already gone down the iPad route find it a difficult road, he said.

"Anecdotal evidence [suggests] that such publications have strong download sales when they first come to market, but when it comes to subscriptions, getting people to repeat buy, it gets really tough."

It also faces stiff competition from free apps such as Flipboard, which allows users to pick the websites they want to create a personalised magazine.

The Daily newspaper for the iPad is launched by News Corp's Jesse Angelo and Rupert Murdoch in New York.

Paywalls

Mr Murdoch has made no secret of his desire to get consumers paying for news on the web.

The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Sunday Times, all owned by Mr Murdoch, have introduced paywalls for their websites.

The Times has since revealed that it has seen a 87% drop in online readership.

In November, Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson launched his own iPad publication, called Project.

Unlike the Daily, it is a monthly magazine dedicated to style and culture. It costs £1.79.

Other paid-for newspaper apps for the iPad include Esquire, Glamour, GQ, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Wired.

 

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