Originally set to be unveiled at a January 19 event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch's much-anticipated iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, was delayed when the Apple CEO announced an indefinite medical leave. With Vice President of Internet Services Eddy Cue taking Jobs' spot next to Murdoch, The Daily will launch Wednesday morning at New York's Guggenheim Museum.
A group of reporters have been invited to preview the newspaper at Murdoch's New York apartment tonight, where the News Corp. CEO is hosting a small cocktail party. My invite hasn't arrived, but no matter: Details are sure to "leak" and, besides, we already know a lot about The Daily. I'm not anticipating any surprises (though if there are, you'll here about them in this space).
So what do we know? We know that Murdoch, infatuated with Apple's tablet device, has reportedly invested between $20 million and $30 million of his own fortune into the project, for which about 100 journalists -- both up-and-coming talent and established voices -- have been poached from various national news organizations, including this one. Spearheaded by Jesse Angelo, formerly of the New York Post, the staff will be split between offices in New York and Los Angeles. Other names at the top of the masthead include Greg Clayman from Viacom as head of business operations; David Brinker as senior vice president of business development and operations; and Mike Nizza from The Atlantic Wire and AOL News, Steve Alperin from ABC News, and Pete Picton from The Sun as managing editors. Some of the other widely-reported names include Sasha Frere-Jones, who will continue his work as music critic at The New Yorker while overseeing The Daily's culture coverage, and Peter Ha, who previously ran Time's Techland. (Poynter's Damon Kiesow has put together the most complete list of The Daily's hires I've come across.)
To access all of the work being produced by these stars, which, Murdoch and/or News Corp. insiders have teased, will include interactive graphics, stunning full-tablet photography, videos, and other multimedia that we've yet to see, would-be readers will have to subscribe to the daily newspaper at a cost of 99 cents each week. New content will arrive every morning with infrequent midday updates beamed into tablets when necessary.
And that's where Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet services, comes in. The Daily is special because it has been described as iPad-only (rumors suggest that an accompanying website -- thedaily.com -- will showcase about 10 percent of the material produced by the editorial team, effectively serving as a teaser for the application itself) and because of the heavy investment from Murdoch. Otherwise, this is nothing new: Magazines and newspapers have been putting out iPad applications since the tablet debuted as a consumer must-have last year. One across-the-board complaint, though, is that content creators have had to charge for individual issues, give away applications for free, or tie a digital subscription to an existing print subscription. Under existing restrictions, there isn't a way for The Daily to do what it needs to do to stay solvent, which is bill readers once a week without forcing them to sign up every seven days. The presumption is that Murdoch has worked out a special plan with Jobs and Cue to accommodate The Daily's needs; the digital equivalent of a magazine subscription that re-bills customers automatically could be a game-changer across the industry.
Expect The Daily to kick off with an offer of two free weeks of content and advertisements during the Super Bowl, which will air on Fox, a network owned by Murdoch's News Corp., this coming Sunday. In order to work, the iPad-only newspaper will need to quickly attract a large group of dedicated readers that, without a website and the traditional sharing options -- Digg, Facebook "recommends" Twitter -- we've come to expect on all stories, will have to spread their excitement about the product the old-fashioned way: word of mouth.
How have some of Rupert Murdoch's considerable media holdings covered the iPad and the launch of their boss' newest product, The Daily?
Tech Trader Daily, a Barron's blog:
Speaking at a conference in New York last night, he praised the iPad to the skies, according to a report from Business Week.
"This is a fantastic invention," he said. "It combines the ability to present all forms of media to all people, from three year old children to 100 year old men...I believe that within five years, you'll have many hundreds of millions of iPad or iPad-like devices in the world. This is a huge new market."
The plan amounts to a coup for News Corp., allowing the media giant to share in some of Apple's cachet as it launches a new product that many hope will offer a template for publishers in an industry starved for new online business models.
While details about The Daily have been sparse, news of high-profile journalist hires have trickled out as News Corp. has amassed an editorial staff for the venture. The company reportedly is willing to invest $30 million in the project.
The Sunday Times' Perth Now:
News Corp has revealed few details about The Daily. It has not said, for instance, what it will charge readers, if anything.
But the company has been at the forefront of efforts to get subscription fees for digital content. The website of The Wall Street Journal, which News Corp bought in 2007, has required a paid subscription for 14 years, and the newspaper charges for its iPad app.
- Alexis Madrigal: What's Really Important About Murdoch's New iPad Newspaper
- Andrew Sullivan: Murdoch's Paywall Gamble: 'A Referendum on The Future'
- Nicholas Jackson: A First Look at The Daily, Murdoch's iPad Newspaper
- Nicholas Jackson: Why Murdoch's iPad Newspaper ... Will Be a Huge Success
- Nicholas Jackson: A Look at Rupert Murdoch's Past Internet Failures