Prominent Digital Newspaper May Fold After 18 Months. That's Not Good News For Online Journalism - HotHardware
Prominent Digital Newspaper May Fold After 18 Months. That's Not Good News For Online Journalism

Prominent Digital Newspaper May Fold After 18 Months. That's Not Good News For Online Journalism

In early 2011, Robert Murdoch's News Corp took the wraps off The Daily, a new, iPad-centric newspaper that was supposed to revolutionize the digital news business. Murdoch himself described the paper as "unique mix of text, photography, audio, video, information graphics, touch interactivity and real-time data and social feeds provides its editors with the ability to decide not only which stories are most important." It was also the first app to use Apple's in-app subscription system, which allowed charges to be billed directly to your iTunes account without needing to open another window or register a separate billing service.

Now, the company is said to be on the virtual chopping block, with News Corp evaluating whether it can be saved. The company has been losing an estimated $30M per year, and matters have come to a head as News Corp prepares to spin off its publishing companies, including The Times and The New York Post, into a separate entity. Up to now, the media giant's battered newspapers and other publications have been shielded by the success of properties like Fox News.

News Corp hasn't said much about the earnings of its digital ingénue, but told reporters in February that the company had 100,000 subscribers paying $39.99 a year as well as an average of 250,000 unique readers a month. At that time, the paper was predicted to break even in five years. Since then, News Corp has been battered by further allegations of fraud (the company allegedly hired hackers to disrupt rival pay-TV companies worldwide), the initial phone hacking scandal hasn't ended, and Apple's digital subscription business, while not a bad thing, failed to materialize as the deus ex machina many publishers were hoping it would be. iPad subscriptions haven't flowed in at a rate that would stem losses at a number of dead-tree publications, and online advertising continues to sell at much lower rates than its real-world counterpart. The economy, meanwhile, is nearly moribund.

The Daily's UI has been praised for easy navigation and attractive presentation

The Times, News Corp's other major experiment in online distribution, hasn't done particularly well since raising a paywall in 2010. In October 2011, the paper reported 111,000 subscribers to its various digital products. That's not bad for an Internet site, but the site's traffic is down to 2.7 million unique visitors a month, down from a height of 21 million before the paywell went up.

For journalists, these trends are unsettling. Murdoch may be slime -- certainly some of the people he hired were -- but News Corp got where it is today because it was very, very, good at making money. The Internet's impact on the music and movie industries is widely discussed; the impact on reporting and newspapers gets less column space. If The Daily can't turn a profit, with the resources and expertise of News Corp behind it, it's hard to see how many other major publications will be able to do so. To date, newspapers and magazines have reacted to the Internet's encroachment by slashing job positions and writing more fluff pieces and fewer features. If a six-month investigation into corporate skullduggery and a 30-page slide show of cute kittens get the same number of clicks and earn the same advertising rate, which one do you think a news company is more likely to invest in?

The economics are blunt enough to worry any journalist, no matter what medium they work in.
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Murdoch is scum, and his "newspapers" are nothing but propaganda organs for the wealthiest 1% of Mankind. Perhaps the problem is not that The Daily "failed," but that digital consumers are more educated than Teabaggers, and aren't interested in paying for Murdoch's oligarchic political career.

Besides which, journalism has largely ceased to exist. "News" publications today are advertising vehicles, nothing more.

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"but that digital consumers are more educated than Teabaggers"

Wow, I guess you don't know that stereotyping and prejudice are the refuge of a inferior and immoral mind? You shouldn't confuse your personal bias with reality no matter how tempting it may be, especially when it has nothing to do with the subject of the article you're commenting on!

Besides, the Daily was targeted at general tablet users and didn't focus on politics. The problem was much of what it did offer could be found from free news sources instead and the convenience of the app wasn't enough to draw that many users willing to pay.

While from the beginning critics have stated that The Daily didn't provide a 'native' iPad experience at all, but rather felt like a news magazine torn up and stuffed, page-by-page onto the iPad screen and also the app didn't update frequently (once or twice a day only). Yet despite the lack of frequent updates many of its writers weren't allowed to make substantial in depth articles.

Never mind technical problems made The Daily slow to upload, and it crashed frequently.

So we don't need to imagine why The Daily didn't do well, there's plenty of clear reasons why it didn't.

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"News Corp prepares to spin off its publishing companies, including the New York Times and Washington Post"...hate to break the news...but NEWS CORP does NOT own the NY Times, thank . I assume you mean the NY POST...and that trying to deliver information through the written word without editors, as a business model...creates a lousy product.

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PLEASE CORRECT YOUR ARTICLE! Attributing NY Times ownership to News Corp is an egregious error!

NY Times owned by NY Times Company; from their website...

The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), a leading global, multimedia news and information company with 2011 revenues of $2.3 billion, includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, , , , and related properties.

List of U.S. newspapers owned by News Corp according to Wikipedia

United States

New York Post

Wall Street Journal

Community Newspaper Group

The Brooklyn Paper

Courier-Life Publications

TimesLedger Newspapers

Bronx Times Reporter Inc.

The Corning Leader

NewsDay Long Island (New York Long Island main local newspaper)

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The article has been corrected. I was *reading* the NYT while writing about the other two, and conflated some words. Thanks for letting us know.

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