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Is this the future of newspapers?
February 2, 2011 1:17 PM   Subscribe

With newspapers going broke everywhere, what replaces them? How about an electronic newspaper? Introducing The Daily, a 100-page non-paper newspaper delivered fresh daily to your iPad for just $40 per year.

It's a new venture by Rupert Murdoch, and say what you will about his politics, he's one media mogul who isn't afraid of new technology and isn't stuck in the past.

And what do we call a newspaper that isn't printed on paper? We need a new word. ePaper? iPaper?
posted by Chocolate Pickle (57 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
At last, I can read the news on my iPad.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 1:19 PM on February 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


And Microsoft announced its 100-page non-paper newspaper, The Hiybbprqag.
posted by mazola at 1:22 PM on February 2, 2011 [25 favorites]


Tried this out today. The technical implementation is just okay, but would be pretty impressive if they fixed the lagginess of the app's browse interface. Content-wise, the Daily lies somewhere on the spectrum between People and Time magazines: short, blurby, general-interest, uncontroversial editorial prose interspersed with lots of big pictures. Not great if you're looking for anything other than very casual bathroom reading.
posted by killdevil at 1:23 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pepsi Barf
posted by munchingzombie at 1:23 PM on February 2, 2011


laughingteens.jpg "Look, he still thinks he can get money for content!"

That may be the "stuck in the past" issue which most matters.
posted by adipocere at 1:24 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing I don't like about this is the fact that I can't frequently and satirically wipe my arse with it, thereby diminishing its potential usefulness by 99%.
posted by fight or flight at 1:25 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pass.
posted by Billiken at 1:25 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what do we call a newspaper that isn't printed on paper? We need a new word. ePaper? iPaper?

I find it telling that when discussing Rupert Murdoch's online newspaper and attempting to coin a neologism to describe it, you chose to include the word "paper" rather than "news."
posted by mightygodking at 1:28 PM on February 2, 2011 [20 favorites]


At one point in the presentation, [The Daily's editor Jesse] Angelo was even touting The Daily by pointing out that a television review contained a link to IMDB. Later, someone bragged about a direct link to the Apple Store. Woah, slow down with the innovation there, guys!
posted by Joe Beese at 1:31 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't have a problem paying for superior content. I subscribe to the New Yorker and Harper's. Most people are likely in the same boat.

If this is simply an aggregator of free content, then it won't be long before someone else does this better for free. For this to succeed, the app needs to have at least a little original, desirable content.
posted by reenum at 1:31 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Newspapers or news sources--ie, Associated Press et al--get news, gather stories. If papers are "gone" then there is no news reported. Most sites on the net simply post what is taken from newspapers if it is a news item. We will have left, right, center sites but not material gathered by experienced reporters.

Further, as papers and magazines erect pay walls, we will find many articles online that are there because they are the pieces given away free by magazines--that is, not the articles the magazines consider the better ones. Example: I recently read a fine article in The New Yorker. I can not get it because it is behind a pay wall. If I got it via my subscription and posted it, I would be in violation of copyright laws.
In sum: for all the great things the net has brought us we have lost goodies we had previously had available.
But, as the nugget has it: no news is good news, right?
posted by Postroad at 1:35 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is dumb. Hopefully it fails because Murdoch is a blight.
posted by delmoi at 1:36 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'll check this out I guess just to feel like I am living in the future. I been reading instapaper editors picks on my commute. Ipad is a bit heavy though they need a kindle edition, or even their own reader. Bonus if it can be folded like the old guys fold the NYT.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:43 PM on February 2, 2011


Is the intersection of iPad users and Fox News viewers big enough to sustain this thing?
posted by octothorpe at 1:44 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


RT @davemee "Apparently an Australian tax dodger whose UK businesses break the law & lie under oath have launched a repackaged website app. Grate."
posted by davemee at 1:48 PM on February 2, 2011


Is the intersection of iPad users and Fox News viewers big enough to sustain this thing?

This Guardian article about the launch notes that Murdoch will recieve 66 cents of the 99 cent cost of a weekly subscription:

"Murdoch has said he anticipates it will take 800,000 readers to make the Daily viable."

So: good lord, I hope not.
posted by fight or flight at 1:51 PM on February 2, 2011


Just got my Kindle 3. Reading today's NYT on it today. I think that is the best of all worlds -- a quality news organization's product delivered in a form which is easy to handle, doesn't shed ink, and reads like a book.
posted by bearwife at 1:52 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is the intersection of iPad users and Fox News viewers big enough to sustain this thing?

Murdoch really, really hopes so.
posted by muddgirl at 1:57 PM on February 2, 2011


Rupert Murdoch

uh-uh, no way. Although an early adopter to the tech, he's evil, man.
posted by djrock3k at 1:59 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read about this on my free New York Times app on my iPod.
posted by Splunge at 2:04 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Please don't shill for Murdoch.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:06 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is reading newspapers really all that hard to do through a browser? Why do you need a special app to do this when we already have the web? I don't get it.
posted by octothorpe at 2:08 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


And Microsoft announced its 100-page non-paper newspaper, The Hiybbprqag.

No, if it was Microsoft, they'd name is something force-branded like Microsoft Windows for News 7 Ultimate Edition 360.
posted by grubi at 2:09 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Is reading newspapers really all that hard to do through a browser? Why do you need a special app to do this when we already have the web? I don't get it.

This same statement is true for many apps. Why make an app when you can just optimize your site for mobile devices? Apps are just buzzwords with a bit of code.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of my professors last semester told us we had to buy this one-semester subscription to the WSJ, purely so that we could refer to business articles in it occasionally and get access to their online content. So I did, even though I had no desire for a newspaper subscription, and ended up taking the rubber bands and then recycling every single issue (except for the one after the Giants won the World Series)

Then, the subscription ran out. Like, a couple of months ago. They keep sending me these emails like "This is your last chance to renew! You must act now or your subscription will expire!" (I've gotten like 5 of these already at least) They're still delivering the paper every day, I'm still picking it up and dropping it in my recycling bin.

Print media are losing money at a dramatic pace, right? I'm not personally gonna subscribe to The Daily, but starting it can't be a WORSE strategy than the refuse-to-stop-delivering-physical-product-for-months-after-the-customer-last-paid one
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 2:12 PM on February 2, 2011


It is but a matter of a few weeks or so before NY Times announces pay wall.
posted by Postroad at 2:12 PM on February 2, 2011


We need a new word. ePaper?

GOPaper
posted by JaredSeth at 2:16 PM on February 2, 2011


Methinks they have a fuzzy definition of "audience."

"People who own iPads" does not work.
posted by VicNebulous at 2:16 PM on February 2, 2011


Premium hardnews only costs money to the first person to handle it. When you pick it up from the corner of the counter in a busy coffee shop and browse the arts section while knoshing absent-mindedly on a cherry cheese danish, it doesn't cost you anything at all. When a stranger gestures to the sloppy pile of newsprint tossed beside you on the bench and asks "Are you done with that?", it doesn't cost them anything either. No flakey rechargeable batteries or wireless connections required.

When we can do the same thing with softnews, just as easily... that's when news-"papers" will be obsolete. I'm not holding my breath for that, though.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:21 PM on February 2, 2011


Possibly, Murdoch is seeking to simply license out his software / distribution model to other newspapers that want to get in on the iPad market. So, it may not be about selling the Daily; it may be about selling the engine and subscription model behind it.

Some newspaper apps are absolutely horrendous on the iPad, and the bar for the proper method of tablet distribution has not yet been set. If the Daily beats out the NY Times model, or CNN's model, then it really has a leg up.

Also, I think that getting news on the iPad is not about who it's being delivered from, but what the experience is, and how well the program is laid out. Flipboard is a good example of that. The Daily may be a bit of a joke in the world of physical media, but it can be a monster in the tablet business if it can deliver the goods.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:22 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway, Murdoch should've been dressed in a black turtleneck and jeans à la The Steve when he made this presentation.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:23 PM on February 2, 2011


I'd agree with the commenter who observed that the content needs to be compelling. I wouldn't be surprised to see this venture fail, if it repackages existing news feeds without an editorial line. If the app were free that would be one thing, but few will pay to be bored, I suspect.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 PM on February 2, 2011


Senior citizen swallows tablet. News at 11...
posted by chavenet at 2:26 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is reading newspapers really all that hard to do through a browser? Why do you need a special app to do this when we already have the web? I don't get it.
posted by octothorpe at 2:08 PM on February 2 [+] [!]


Well I like instapaper editors picks because the articles are stored locally so I can read them without net access and they are formatted in a reader friendly way, 1 long page, no distractions.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:30 PM on February 2, 2011


At one point in the presentation, [The Daily's editor Jesse] Angelo was even touting The Daily by pointing out that a television review contained a link to IMDB. Later, someone bragged about a direct link to the Apple Store. Woah, slow down with the innovation there, guys!

Just been watching how Fox News covered the announcement. The anchor is apparently speaking to us from 1996.

"... it is no accident that some of the pro and con comments that [we've] been getting emailed have been coming through the internet. And that is going to be the next OK Corral for getting your news and information... The contemporary and modern way a lot of young folks get news is over the World Wide Web."

Btw, documentarian Adam Curtis has created a truly awesome video-filled blog post about Murdoch through the ages. (Video might be UK-only.)
posted by sleepcrime at 2:36 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I downloaded it; so far it's both crashy and slow. The editorial voice is a little USA today circa 1994.

Not really what I'm looking for yet, maybe it'll improve. I'm happy with flipbook and reeder, not sure that this offers much of anything.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:39 PM on February 2, 2011


Is reading newspapers really all that hard to do through a browser? Why do you need a special app to do this when we already have the web? I don't get it.Is reading newspapers really all that hard to do through a browser? Why do you need a special app to do this when we already have the web? I don't get it.

the problem with even the web version of the nytimes is that it provides only a small fraction of the actual articles in the paper times. this is true of most if not all of the web/app versions of paper newspapers. why, when the cost of 'printing' is essentially fixed, you would want to pay for less content i don't know.

the future of newspapers electronic of otherwise is: niche (i.e. bloomberg), vanity, or nonprofit.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:43 PM on February 2, 2011


News Corp's chief digital officer, Jon Miller, said the Daily will be competing for attention with a range of news, games and other media services.

"You're competing with Angry Birds on some level," Miller said.


Fox in the henhouse, apparently.
posted by chavenet at 2:46 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read about this on my free New York Times app on my iPod.

Not free for much longer though.
posted by smackfu at 3:03 PM on February 2, 2011


Meh. Flipboard lets me plugin free sources and have it presented in the same format. They used to show all the articles in the app, but content sources complained about the loss of add revenue, so now it shows the first paragraph or so.
posted by msbutah at 3:08 PM on February 2, 2011


Flipboard + Google Reader = everything I need to know presented quite nicely on my iPad.

That and I'm sure as hell not supporting Rupert.
posted by SirOmega at 3:11 PM on February 2, 2011


I don't know if I like the sound of this:
"You will also find The Daily’s own point of view. We will crusade for reforming America’s broken schools so we can remain the world’s pre-eminent economic and technological power. We will fight for sensible immigration reform and smart environmental laws. We will push for policies that give Americans the maximum possible freedom in their personal lives. And we don’t believe that expanding government is the solution to most problems.

Above all else, we will stand for freedom and with those who seek it. We believe America is exceptional, and must retain its unique role as global leader."
In order of appearance: crusade; fight; push; the whole of the last paragraph.
posted by unliteral at 3:22 PM on February 2, 2011


As Joshua Benton sums it up in NiemanLab: "What is the problem The Daily is trying to solve?"

Do we need more packaged news on the Web?
Maybe, but in that case it must be "new" news, news that are not available elsewhere.

I have watched the press conference and I have two main observations:
1 - This is not "new" news. The only problem The Daily seems to solve is: How can Murdoch make money with news on the Web?
2- I happen to think that the future of news on the Web depends on building communities around news gathering and news publishing. Nothing of the sort here: the only role the readers are supposed to play is to pay and to share (bringing your friends to The Daily). Fun fun fun.

I may be wrong but I wouldn't bet a dime on the success of The Daily.
posted by bru at 3:23 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


He thinks people that can read are going to pay for internet content from his shit ass organization?
posted by zzazazz at 3:26 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


When we can do the same thing with softnews, just as easily... that's when news-"papers" will be obsolete. I'm not holding my breath for that, though.

We can, and people do. Using hyperlinks. And even better, each new user sees the ads!

The problem for newspapers is that they all had local monopolies, so if something happened in Cairo they all got to cover it and they all got money. But today we can all just tune into Al Jazeera online, there's no need to read the articles on some random local newspaper.

The other problem is that there's no copyright on information, anyone can take your article rewrite your article or summarize it or whatever, so there's no guarantee you'll get paid for what you've done.
posted by delmoi at 4:02 PM on February 2, 2011


Thorough review here.

Money quote: The problem with The Daily... is that it’s three things in a single package: an app, a newspaper and a business model.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:37 PM on February 2, 2011


The original launch of The Daily was supposed to have Steve Jobs as part of the dog and pony show. I suspect the timing of his leave of absence was to specifically avoid this.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2011


It's a new venture by Rupert Murdoch, and say what you will about his politics...

Or, say what you want about the data analysis that shows he's dumbing down America.

But hey! Enough of that, let's just get with this new gol dang thing-a-ma-jig what gawt pitchers and werds!
posted by uraniumwilly at 4:54 PM on February 2, 2011


What do we call it? How about a news site?

Seriously, what can it do that an HTML 5 based web site can't other than limit the audience to a specific bunch of fickle, bored gadget consumers with short attention spans (iPad owners)?

Smells like Prodigy (the extinct online service, not the techno-cum pop-misogyny guys).
posted by mr.ersatz at 5:11 PM on February 2, 2011


Btw, documentarian Adam Curtis has created a truly awesome video-filled blog post about Murdoch through the ages.
Wyatt cannot believe the treachery. He was the man who fixed it so Mrs Thatcher wouldn't refer the Times purchase to the Monopolies Commission. And now Murdoch is betraying him and turning to Blair.
And further on:
and not to mention the possible reference of BSkyB to the Monopolies Commission
Seems some things never change...
posted by djgh at 5:26 PM on February 2, 2011


a 100-page non-paper newspaper delivered fresh daily

Ah! 100 pages of what exactly? I take a good 30% is advertising, or will be, regardless of the fact that the newspaper is paid for, if Sky is to be taken as reference model: it does run commercials, even if not as much as a generalistic free TV of course. And reruns, endless reruns, for it is good to keep costs down.

And again if the paper is or will be modeled on FoxNews, we can expect a whole lot of propaganda disguised in a fashion that appeals to "readers" (as opposed to "viewers").

I don't buy into this model in which I am spoon-fed a generalistic, unchallening, digested blob of info: give me a powerful search engine any time, and a ton of highly specialized content providers.
posted by elpapacito at 5:27 PM on February 2, 2011


"Is reading newspapers really all that hard to do through a browser? Why do you need a special app to do this when we already have the web? I don't get it."

Of course it's not that hard, but you can't charge people to read your stuff through a browser unless you're the WSJ or a porn site.

The special app lets you charge people for the content reliably. That's the whole point of the App Store model.

Also, 800,000 users isn't hard to imagine when there will be something like 20 million iPads alone out there by end of 2011, and everyone else is making tablets too now. You can be sure there will be an Android version of this, too. Murdoch's got the cash to take a loss on this for quite some time, to build audience.

Anyone know how much the NYT App is going to start charging? $40 a year, I'd pay that in a heartbeat for the NYT. If they try to charge $300+ a year for it, well... good luck.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:17 AM on February 3, 2011


20 million iPads by the end of 2011? Call it 30m, as there are already 15m out there, and they sold over 7m in the last quarter alone.
posted by DanCall at 6:11 AM on February 3, 2011


I stand corrected! Thanks.

I told all my comics-biz friends last year that by 2015 there would be 200 million tablets put there for people to read comics on. Some scoffed, others got really nervous.

I may have wildly underestimated.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:52 AM on February 3, 2011


The real news behind this is that in-app subscriptions are now going to be the norm. I would happily buy a sub for The New Yorker or Wired if I didn't have to get it in the mail. I seriously feel bad about tossing issues of TNY because I often find myself wanting to show someone an article months after the fact. Societal pushes behind reducing carbon footprints and less-is-more lifestyles don't mesh well with physical media.
posted by tmt at 11:36 AM on February 3, 2011


I would happily buy a sub for The New Yorker or Wired if I didn't have to get it in the mail.

Exactly. I really despise having to pay cover-price for issues of magazines. Zinio has a subscription service for magazines on the iPad, but the magazines are not truly tablet-optimized magazines. Zinio's still a good deal, though. Ideally, I'd like to be able to get the same discounted subscription paper-magazine rate for the iPad Wired magazine, so I can stop killing trees.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:36 PM on February 3, 2011


If you're one of the 200+million iPad-less Americans, somebody uses their 'share' function to share it all on Tumblr. The Daily Indexed
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:14 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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