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The Daily on the iPad Could Ring In New Publishing Era

By Rob Spiegel MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Feb 2, 2011 1:50 PM PT

Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. hope to revolutionize the way readers experience the newspaper. On Wednesday, News Corp. unveiled and launched its iPad-exclusive digital "paper" called The Daily. Held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the launch was hosted by News Corp. Chairman Richard Murdoch and Apple Vice President of Internet Services Eddy Cue. The Daily will integrate different forms of media, including, text, video, audio and social networks.

The Daily on the iPad Could Ring In New Publishing Era

The Daily will be free for its first two weeks and then 99 US cents a week or $39.99 a year. The publication includes advertising. The Daily will collect subscription dollars through a new platform for subscriptions in iTunes.

The publication contains a carousel of tiles representing different stories. Readers can shuffle unread stories and read in random order. Professional audio readings of top stories are available, so it can be used like a radio. Top stories are hosted by an anchor.

Breaking news is delivered throughout the day to subscribers. The Daily will take advantage of iPad technology by presenting HD videos and 360-degree pictures. Users will have the ability to share articles to Twitter, Facebook and email. They can also opt to view Twitter feeds pertaining to stories. Other sections include customizable sports, weather, games and crossword content.

Blend of Past and Future

The Daily blends the idea and form of a newspaper with the capabilities of the Web.

"It's the next generation of digital content," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told MacNewsWorld. "The content is supposed to update itself real-time. It's a changing story, rather than a snapshot in time like a magazine. What makes it new is they're blending a newspaper with Web news. You get the comfort of a magazine, with the relevancy of the Web. In the past, we've had either the old or the new. This is a match-up of two contents. It's an experiment."

If this is a success, News Corp. will be at the forefront of an important and emerging form of news.

"This is very high-profile for News Corp.," said Enderle. "They struggled with MySpace, and they've looked like they are out of their depth with the Web. If this fails, they could lose investors. For Apple, it's not as much of a risk. A success with Apple lines them up against Google. If it fails, Apple is no worse off."

A Quality Addition to Tablet Tech

Tablet technology may change the way many people get their news.

"The Daily is an innovative showcase for what a newspaper can do in the modern tablet era," Azita Arvani, principal of the Arvani Group, told MacNewsWorld. "It is an explosion of all types of content in a stunning layout. The Daily app design is very Applesque: beautiful and intuitive. The buttons are where you'd want them to be, and you can flip the paper around like a newspaper, watch videos, etc."

News Corp. will need to listen to reader responses to The Daily update it accordingly.

"It still has some kinks to iron out," said Arvani. "That's expected from a 1.0 product. I had some trouble with the app freezing a couple of times, or losing its spot when I tried to go in and out of Twitter or email.

"The content of The Daily is not very comprehensive either," she added, "but that will all be figured out soon enough. Also, The Daily looks great on a 10-inch tablet display. This won't work as well on smaller displays. Overall, I think we have seen the future of the newspaper. It looks good!"

A Re-imagining of Newspapers

Digital newspapers are still in the early stages, but The Daily represents an advancement that could pave the way for future publications.

"I think The Daily shows one way to re-imagine newspapers of the future," Al Hilwa, program director of applications development software at IDC, told MacNewsWorld. "The production costs must be very high for a daily that offers such a rich graphical experience, but it is perfectly in line with the value proposition of media tablet devices. The production costs are likely to go down in time, but I still see this as an experiment."

Technology has made it easier to design more complex content at a fast speed.

"Timeliness is the most important aspect of news," said Hilwa. "So most news will not be presented in this way. The velocity of rich content production is definitely increasing, and graphical and analytical news coverage on a daily basis is a model likely to survive for a niche segment of the market."

The selection and ease of different medias on the iPad gives The Daily more depth.

"I don't see this approach as suited for all media," said Hilwa, "but one of the things we will see with the diversification of digital content consumption devices is a diversification of media formats."

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