Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch announced his next big media move. News Corporation introduced 'The Daily,' a digital-only daily newspaper.
Delivered as a news application designed for the iPad, Murdoch is taking a bold step forward by charging a monthly subscription rate of $39. According to his comments, he believes that this new venture will position News Corporation as the digital newsstand of the future.
The concept is quite interesting and controversial because it runs counter to how people consume their online news today. Instead of the ever popular push model where free RSS feeds and subscriptions allow any and all relevant news to be pushed on a 24/7 basis, this model literally creates a digital version of the USA Today model.
Murdoch believes that a more general interest, high- resolution color digital newspaper that offers readers news and gossip on dozens of topics will greatly entice them. He also claims that 'The Daily' will be the first to seamlessly bring photos, video and interactive features together, in this new “all in one place" format.
Murdoch's initial costs for this venture are purposely low. He hopes to build sales through subscriptions over time. No doubt the partnership with Apple will help. And if he's able to build circulation numbers, then advertisers should naturally flock to his outlet as well.
Yet, I wonder if 'The Daily' is still a few years ahead of its time. I do believe that many (including this blogger) would happily subscribe to this app if it was free. But, with so much other free content available at my finger tips, what motivating factor will compel me to want to offer up my credit card for this content? Thirty nine dollars isn't a lot. It's just the difference between having to go that extra step with a payment for content, versus continue to use my favorite model– free.
In the end, I believe that 'The Daily 'will need to provide some incredible value to generate mass subscriptions in this day and age.
I applaud Murdoch's moxy and continued innovative mind set. He failed big time acquiring soon to be 'has-been' My Space a few years back. This time, he's done a complete 180 degree change by establishing a first mover status. I just believe that unless 'The Daily' is offered as part of a larger package (i.e. buy an iPad and receive a six month subscription for free), with Apple consuming the cost, it will be a long and difficult climb to grow sales for News Corp.