Murdoch launches The Daily: ‘We will be on all major tablets, too’

2 Feb 2011

Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily, which launched today on the Apple iPad, will eventually be made for all tablet products and media devices, including Android, the newspaper publisher said today. He said new times require new journalism and added he was honest with Apple from the start.

“We have been quite honest with Apple and as other tablets arrive we will develop our technology to be on them. We will be on all major tablets, but for much of the next year we will belong to Apple.”

News Corp.’s latest newspaper The Daily will be available for 14 cents a day or US$39.99 a year and also represents Apple’s latest foray into selling apps on a subscription model.

“News Corp. is redefining the news experience with The Daily,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think it is terrific and iPad users are really going to embrace it.”

Murdoch said the intention is to breathe life back into media again and take advantage of the tablet computing age.

Murdoch wants to make news viable again

“With The Daily we aim to make the business of news gathering and editing viable again. We are entering a valuable age, a digital renaissance. We want to make The Daily an indispensable source for news, information and entertainment. The opportunity is enormous and in the tablet era there is room for a fresh new voice.

Describing The Daily’s inception, Murdoch said the intention was to take full advantage of everything the iPad offered. “There will be no paper or multi-billion dollar presses, no trucks. We are passing these cost savings on to the reader – The Daily will cost just 14 cents a day.

“It will feature the engaging design of a professionally edited magazine, the immediacy of the web, the voice of a newspaper with stunning photography and high-definition video.”

Murdoch said his target audience is the 15bn people who are expected to own tablet computers in the next year.

On first glance, The Daily has the appearance of a news magazine and indeed the first item to be seen was a cover story detailing the turmoil in Egypt.

The Daily will come with new ways for readers to search and discover content, including a carousel, a shuffle option and even a presenter who will announce various high-definition segments. All content is designed to be shared on social media, such as on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

The Daily’s editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo said the average usage time per session is typically 40-45 minutes on The New York Times’ iPad app and the intention of The Daily is to create compelling content to keep users on the app for the same length of time.

“If you want people to come back to the product you have to think in real time, it has to have great content, be incredibly compelling, show a bit of wit, verve, attitude and punch. The pictures and video are so good, providing an immersive experience.”

When asked about the discoverability of The Daily’s content on the web since it is an app, Apple’s vice-president in charge of internet services Eddie Cue said: “After having 10bn apps downloaded, we’re not concerned about that.”

Murdoch expressed his conviction that The Daily will be a powerful platform for advertisers. “We are encouraging advertisers to produce for this. One of the great things about the iPad and The Daily is that this is going to be a great marketing environment. Going forward only high quality environments will command premiums. Touch an ad and it turns into video, press another button and the advertiser can tell you more about their product. That will be very valuable.”

Angelo said that in terms of revenues, The Daily will achieve a 50:50 split between subscriptions and advertising. “These are very much the magic numbers.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years