Wick Communications

Newspaper of the 21st century

In Online media on February 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm

That’s what the editors of The Daily are calling their new … well, whatever it is. It’s the iPad-only news venture started by News Corps with plenty of investment and some fanfare.

At this writing, I haven’t seen it. So take everything that follows with a grain of salt or two. I’m hoping some of you who may have subscribed will chime in here. I did read with interest several reviews of The Daily and seen the YouTube promotional video and from what I have gleaned, it doesn’t seem all that “new.”

It appears to be an app that looks like a digital magazine but is updated with the frequency of a newspaper. Which wouldn’t make it much different from roughly a million news portals out there already — except that graphically it’s designed with the iPad in mind. There are sections – sports, gossip, games and apps, etc. — that won’t be unfamiliar to readers of mainstream media. The platform uses the cover flow technology, familiar to iTunes users, to navigate from page to page. There are video and audio files, helping readers navigate.

I understand that, at this writing anyway, there are no hyperlinks and that the app is sort of isolated from the rest of the online world. Which strikes me as odd. Perhaps that will change…

Don’t get me wrong. The Daily looks gorgeous. It has clearly hired crack writers and very talented designers. It’s always good to see smart people pouring money into the news business.

The big question – the only question really – is whether a significant number of people will pay $1 a week for a subscription. If so, it will be clear The Daily designers are on to something. I’m dubious. To date, the news products that have benefited from a paywall have been those that sell deeply sourced information particular to focused industries. In other words, people will pay money to learn how to make more of it. I think they will also pay for hyper-local news or other niche products. Will they pay for a general interest publication that only works on one platform and features content they can find elsewhere for free?

Maybe Murdoch knows something I don’t.

Clay

 

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  1. I got to see it yesterday at the CNPA conference, and it is AMAZING. Definitely the future of all our papers. Bye, bye USA Today.

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