Can ‘The Daily’ save newspapers?

by / Tuesday, 22 February 2011 / Published in Blog

Traditional journalism has had a tough time of it recently. With so much content now available for free online, newspaper sales have been falling steadily for years with free papers representing the only growth area.

The Daily logo

The launch of ‘The Daily’ by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation marks an interesting experiment for a news industry facing an uncertain future.

‘The Daily’ is an online newspaper with a new approach. It is a gamble on the future of devices we will use as it is not available on desktops or standard laptops. This new newspaper is only available on the iPad but there are plans to launch on other tablets systems soon like Google’s ‘Honeycomb’. Murdoch believes these sleek new devices are perfect for displaying news, and the design of the ‘app’ makes the most of the screen, with beautifully rendered rich media on the hi-resolution machine.

However, ‘The Daily’ is also gambling with its innovative business model. After the first two weeks the ‘app’ becomes subscription only and will cost users around a dollar a week to access. This is very cheap when compared to paper news, but it is notoriously difficult to persuade people to pay to access anything online. The Times and Sunday Times have been trying out this ‘pay for content’ model with inconclusive results. Also, by restricting it to the 15 million iPad owners, the potential readership is tiny when compared to the whole internet. Tablets, however, are predicted to surge in popularity and some analysts think they will replace the laptop.

Managing to get hold of a copy from an American friend’s iTunes account (it’s only available is the US at present), it does look very slick, with the great use of quality images and videos making the most of the iPad’s screen. The stories are concise and the multimedia is well integrated.

It still has adverts though, the navigation is poor, and as the name suggests,it is only updated daily – pretty slow when compared to the major news websites. That said; it seems to be aiming as the glossy magazine market as much as the news market.

The newspaper trade will be watching the progress of ‘The Daily’ with interest. Any innovation that might save the newspaper industry and jobs from the citizen journalists and bloggers writing for free on the internet would be something of a Holy Grail.

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