If you read News Corp’s iPad-only news publication, The Daily, get ready to give it up on December 15, when the company completely shuts down the app in favor of new organizational pursuits.
A Special Project
The Daily, which began in 2011, was at first heralded as one of the brightest spots in mobile news and a chance at redemption for flailing (and failing) news agencies across the country. However, it quickly began incurring high production costs while generating little profit. The subscription model required 99 cents from viewers each week, or a lower yearly rate for a full subscription. From guides to photo galleries and in-depth news stories, The Daily has several great features, and at least some customers were willing to pay for them, but not enough. Ultimately, it was a special project by the vast News Corp and subject to the tides of merger and acquisition.
These tides turned against the app when News Corp announced a split into two independent organizations, the international Fox Group and the News Corp Publishing company. Shifting roles between the leaders of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post led to the founding editor-in-chief of The Daily, Jesse Angelo, moving to a new position as publisher of the New York Post.
The Post already has a strong digital presence and is pursuing mobile quality, so the reconstruction of the company inevitably led to dropping one of the two publications, with The Daily being the far weaker of the two brands.
CEO Rupert Murdoch reported in the press release that “From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term. Therefore we will take the very best of what we have learned at The Daily and apply it to all our properties. Under the editorial leadership of Editor-in-Chief Col Allan and the business and digital leadership of Jesse, I know The New York Post will continue to grow and become stronger on the web, on mobile, and not least, the paper itself.”
Certain aspects of The Daily will remain alive in the tech sections of the Post, but the iPad project as it was known will die a swift death in the coming weeks.
Whose News App?
From NPR to ABC and FOX, every news service has its own app, each with a powerful channel brand behind it. Not only did they have brand strength, they were also free, providing mobile content without annoying subscription fees. With so many choices, customers naturally turned toward the free publications, and the News Corp app quickly became lost among the cheaper apps.
On a deeper level, content creators need to recognize that more and more viewers are moving to blogs for their news information and updates. The Huffington Post started as a blog. BusinessInsider is a blog. Engadget and Gizmodo are blogs. With around 500,000 new posts a day in 2012 and a broad selection of interests (and languages), blogs simply offer more content for newsreaders. Specialty blogs like TechCrunch and PerezHilton often break news that more official news agencies do not know or cannot print as quickly. When it comes to maintaining a company blog, another vacuum just opened that needs to be filled with useful content.
Photo Source: Flickr