With two new products, can Rupert Murdoch and Amazon save news from the Internet?
We’re well past the dark years of 2008-09 when it seemed like newspapers and magazines were an endangered species, but the anxiety has been bubbling along since then. So it’s probably good news that this week has seen some bright, well, news: Today Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp unveiled its iPad-only newspaper, The Daily (“paper” rapidly becoming the superfluous nipple of industry lingo, we guess).
According to Apple Insider:
“New times demand new journalism,” Murdoch said. The publication will cost 99 cents per week, and the first two weeks are free courtesy of Verizon. News Corp. spent $30 million to prepare the publication for Wednesday’s launch.
For now, the subscription feature is only available from The Daily, though Apple will make an announcement in the near future about recurring subscriptions for other content providers and application makers.
A live demo of The Daily was conducted, showing off features like 360-degree photographs, interactive content, high definition video, and traditional newspaper staples like horoscopes, weather and crossword puzzles.
Frankly, we’re a bit skeptical about the possibility of saving newspapers by walling them off from the Web, as The Daily does. The last time Murdoch tried this, he saw the traffic at The Times plummet by almost 90 per cent. But, who knows? Maybe the brains behind Fox News have struck gold with this latest idea.
We’re far more optimistic about the odds of survival for Amazon’s Kindle Singles service, which allows reporters and authors the ability to write long-form articles or short books, then sell them cheaply through Amazon’s e-book service. Kindle Singles is already being paired up with other, more media-rich services like Atavist. Our optimism is only due to a hunch—nothing more—that people will pay for single servings of long-form, non-fiction more readily than for aggregated daily news that they’ll still be able to get for free elsewhere.
Will these ideas “save” news from the Internet? Only in that both are essentially walled off from the wider Web. Instead, they’re moving news onto more tightly controlled tablets. We’d advise publishers to be careful about the deals they make with Apple and other e-reader companies: like Darth Vader in Empire, they can always change the terms of an agreement.
• News Corp’s ‘The Daily’ launches on iPad with Apple’s in-app subscriptions [Apple Insider]
• News Corp launches daily newspaper for iPad [BBC World]
• Could Digital Publishing Save Longform Journalism? [Time Techland]