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This morning News Corp finally announced its highly anticipated iPad newspaper app, The Daily.
Rupert Murdoch hit the stage at a special press event in New York to talk about why he wanted to create an iPad-specific publication. “New times require new journalism. Our challenge was to take the best of conventional journalism … and combine it with the best of new technology,” he said. “Our aim is for The Daily to be the indispensable source for news, information, and entertainment.”
Murdoch said The Daily will cost just 14 cents a day (99 cents a week, or $39.99 annually), and emphasized that there are no costs for distribution like there are with traditional dead tree newspapers. News Corp.’s target audience is the “more than 15 million Americans who are expected to own tablets in the next year.”
Murdoch said he’ll be able to determine if The Daily is a success once he sells millions (big surprise). He said that News Corp. has spent $30 million on the project so far, and it will run at a cost of $500,000 weekly.
As of a few minutes ago, The Daily app is live on the iTunes Store. Thanks to a sponsorship with Verizon, the app will be free for the first two weeks. (It’s unclear if this means the next two weeks, or the first two weeks after users download the app.)
The Daily’s editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo, publisher Greg Clayman, and executive creative director John Kilpatrick next hit the stage to demonstrate the app. They say that they’ve been doing live production for six weeks with staff working around the clock. “We have people from television, from newspapers and magazines, working hand in hand with designers and developers. The iPad allows us to tell stories in different ways than we did before.”
They demonstrated 360-degree photographs and high-definition videos, content that’s very well suited to tablets. The Daily will produce up to 100 pages of new content every day. News Corp. has developed some innovative ways to find content, including a carousel of pages, a shuffle button to bring up unread stories, a television-like news anchor and an audio button to read you stories.
“The Daily is not an island,” they said. You’ll be able to share stories on Facebook, Twitter and via email. You’ll also be able to record audio comments. The app features a built-in web browser, and certain pages also include Twitter feeds. There’s also an apps and games section to The Daily, which will link you directly to the iTunes Store.
Eddy Cue, vice president of interactive services at Apple, joined them on stage to confirm that Apple was also very excited about The Daily. He said that Apple has built a subscription billing option — a first for any iOS device — that’s “as easy as one click.” The subscription feature will make its way to other publications soon.
When asked how back issues are handled, Daily editors said that for now all of the content for the paper is on the web. You’ll be able to save articles, but it sounds like that’s akin to a bookmark. They’re working towards putting more content on internal storage, so you’ll be able to view it without an internet connection, in future versions.
When asked if The Daily will ever make its way to other tablets, Murdoch said, “As other tablets get developed, we will develop the technology to get there.”
As for sharing content from The Daily, the editors said that when you share a specific story, friends will be able to see it on the web. General web users won’t be able to access those stories otherwise, and they can’t just browse around The Daily’s content from the web. It’ll be interesting to see how this works out — one of the longstanding arguments against something like The Daily has been that it will keep content out of the free web. This current method seems like a balance between being closed and completely open.
When asked why News Corp. didn’t just make The Daily free and ad-supported, Murdoch said that advertisers would probably lower their rates if it was free. Now, he says, the company will be able to get a better class of advertisers at higher rates. At first he expects subscription revenues to amount for more than ads, but eventually he hopes for it move towards 50/50.