Among the landscape of publications attempting to become pioneers in the era of tablet journalism comes the launch of The Daily, a much ballyhooed iPad daily newspaper offered up by News Corp, owner of such media properties as New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Fox Broadcasting. After a two week trial period, sponsored by Verizon, the tablet newspaper will cost 99 cents per day, $39.99 per year. The Daily will be available only on the iPad for now with future devices on board at some unspecified time.
The launch event, held at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, resembled the annual TV critics junket in which network executives trumpet their new season’s fare knowing how difficult it is to make a lasting judgment of any product or service after one viewing. Same goes for The Daily with its $30 million startup budget; a periodical of any sort is only as good as it is on day 100 whether it’s in print, online or on a tablet. Cool tabloid-like photos, interactive NFL linebackers and sexy video built for launch become far more challenging in the daily grind when every news day offers new challenges.
Issue one looks sexy and not-quite-bleeding edge techie. Headlines straight out of tabloid 101: A photo of Natalie Portman with the headline, “Oh, Baby!” Integrated Twitter feeds into breaking news stories and sports features (what is Twitter saying about Mike Tomlin). Magazine quality photos A section on top travel apps (with links to the iTunes store). Interactive Sudoko. . No ads. Lots of video.
The Daily is a manifestation of what can be called the Flipboard revolution. Flipboard, launched in 2010 and listed as an app of the year for iPad, offers a blend of visually striking and relevant content with a significant social overlay. The Daily’s take is to take to create an alchemy that blends Flipboard’s social sensibility, a tablet’s inherent attributes (video, geolocation) and a helping of well crafted of news and information.
There are more questions than answers, so we’ll need to come back and revisit The Daily after the initial buzz dies down.
1. Via ITunes, Apple is offering daily copies and subscriptions to The Daily, but Eddie Cue offered no details on the technology behind the offering and failed to answer questions related to the current in-app versus out of app subscription controversy.
2. Those on stage were naturally evasive about what “voice” The Daily will have. The answer of “that’s up to the editors” was clearly in deference to Murdoch’s presence on stage.
3. Given the imminent release of tablets with advanced version of Android, how quickly will The Daily be on other devices?
4. Little was said about ad platforms, ad rates, or early advertiser beyond those up on day one (Land Rover, etc..)
5. Does the name The Daily infer that the newspaper won’t be continually updated save for breaking news?
Well, that’s just a few of the outstanding issues.
At the end of the day, the fate of The Daily rests on the shoulders of this crazy quilt of an editorial staff which has been assembled. Staffers include print journalists, bloggers, social media experts and broadcast journalists. How long it takes to get these folks to think and deliver in a unified fashion will go a long way to dictate this product’s future.
Pilot season for Fllipboard newspapers has just begun. The New York Times, AOL and others will soon be out with similar products. Is being first an advantage?