After a few months of delays, Rupert Murdoch finally launched The Daily, News Corp.'s highly anticipated iPad newspaper, at the Guggenheim Museum in slushy New York on Wednesday.
Murdoch called The Daily — which turned up on Apple's App Store at the same time as the press conference — "a national news publication for the iPad that we have created from scratch."
The news service will be available to the more than 10 million consumers who bought the wildly popular Apple tablets last year alone. Millions more are expected to be sold this year, even as rival manufacturers speed their own tablets to market.
The News Corp. chairman said they've spent $30 million on the launch so far — all of which has been written off — and that operating costs will be about “half a million a week.”
Murdoch is hoping the market reception — unlike New York's weather — is not icy. To entice prospective subscribers, News Corp. is offering a free, two-week trial of the publication. Otherwise, a week subscription will cost 99 cents, or $39.99 a year.
The real question for newspapers will be whether the iPad provides an enticing enough product to induce consumers to pay for content, something they so far have been reluctant to do. If so, it may represent a path to a more viable business model for news media in the age of the Internet.
Murdoch checked off advantages of producing an iPad-based publication. "No paper, no multimillion-dollar presses, no trucks," he said. "And we're passing on these savings to the reader which is why we can offer The Daily for just 14 cents a day."
Oh: It also has stunning 360-degree photos.
The Daily’s first headline? "Fallen Pharoah: Obama pushes Mubarak to quit now as a million March in Egypt revolution." The company said reporter Joshua Hersh, who carried the first Daily byline, was on the ground in Cairo. The Guggenheim demo also featured an advertiser, Pepsi Max, and the actual app had several more, including LandRover, Verizon, and Macy's.
The executives addressed one of the lingering questions: sharing. Daily readers will be able to share articles on Facebook and Twitter to non-users (read: potential subscribers). “The Daily is not an island," publisher Greg Clayman said.
Murdoch smiled at a question about whether The Daily will be more centrist to appeal to younger, tech savvy users: "The editorial position will be in the hands of the editor."
But for most publishers, the bigger news to come out of the event was from Apple, which for the first time rolled out a subscription service through its App Store. Up until now, magazine publishers with iPad versions have been forced to sell each monthly issue as a stand-alone copy.
“We think subscriptions is only going to help publishers,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet services, said.
Murdoch added that while The Daily is initially an iPad-only product, it is not an exclusive arrangement, long-term. "We've been very honest with Apple about that, he said. "But last year, this year and probably next year is about Apple."
Below, The Daily's maiden press release:
New York, NY, February 2, 2011 – Today Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Corporation, unveiled The Daily — the industry’s first national daily news publication created from the ground up for iPad.
“New times demand new journalism,” said Mr. Murdoch. “So we built The Daily completely from scratch — on the most innovative device to come about in my time — the iPad."
“The magic of great newspapers — and great blogs — lies in their serendipity and surprise, and the touch of a good editor,” continued Mr. Murdoch. “We’re going to bring that magic to The Daily — to inform people, to make them think, to help themengage in the great issues of the day. And as we continue to improve and evolve, we are going to use the best in new technology to push the boundaries of reporting.”
The Daily’s 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 — but also the best format to deliver these stories to their readers.
“News Corp. is redefining the news experience with The Daily,” says Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think it is terrific and iPad users are really going to embrace it.”
Led by Editor-in-Chief Jesse Angelo and Publisher Greg Clayman, The Daily is the first application made available on the App Store as a subscription — which will be billed directly to an iTunes account. And because this paperless paper requires no multi-million dollar presses or delivery trucks, it will be priced at just 99 cents a week (or $39.99 for an annual subscription).
“The Daily launches at a moment when advances in technology are changing the job of the modern editor,” says Mr. Angelo. “These advances are giving us new ways to tell stories. We intend to take advantage of all of them, and make The Daily the new voice for a new era.”
Each day The Daily will publish up to 100 pages focused on six key areas: news, sports, gossip and celebrity, opinion, arts and life, and apps and games. It will offer views from across the political spectrum. They will come from across cultures and generations, across America and the world.
The Daily will feature Sudoku and crossword puzzles, localized weather reports, and a customizablesports package that captures news on the user’s favorite teams. Subscribers will also be able to leave comments on Daily stories in either written or audio form — as well as bookmark them in-app to read later.
As readers move through The Daily’s content, they will be helped by several highly intuitive navigation tools. And while The Daily lives on the iPad, most of its articles can be easily shared via Facebook, Twitter and email. The Daily will link out to the web, as well as bring the web into the app.
“In short, says Mr. Murdoch, “we believe The Daily will be the model for how stories are told and consumed in this digital age.”
The Daily has bureaus in New York and Los Angeles, as well as stringers across the country. Full companybios are available at TheDaily.com/about. Executive staff includes:
* John Kilpatrick – Executive Creative Director
* Steve Alperin – Managing Editor
* Mike Nizza – Managing Editor, News
* Richard Johnson – LA Bureau Chief
* Sasha Frere-Jones – Editor, Arts & Life
* Chris D’Amico – Editor, Sports
* Elisabeth Eaves – Editor, Opinion
* Peter Ha – Editor, Apps, Games and Technology
The Daily is also changing the way advertising is offered and consumed within a news publication. Full-page ad units are completely interactive, customizable, and offer a rich mix of branding and direct response opportunities. Launch advertisers include HBO,Macy’s, Paramount, Pepsi Max, Range Rover, Verizon, and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
“With The Daily, Rupert Murdoch has given us the chance to rethink the entire experience of news delivery and consumption,” said Mr. Clayman. “The ability to actively listen to and engage with our audience means we can continually provide an experiencethat consumers value in this fast-evolving tablet space. Together with our customers, our advertising partners, and the team at The Daily, we are excited to create a new form of media.”
About The Daily
The Daily is a first-of-its-kind daily national news publication built exclusively as an application for tablet computing. It provides readers the engaging experience of a magazine combined with the immediacy of the web and the need-to-know content of a newspaper, all while elevating user experience beyond the printed word. The Daily is a subscription-based news product, published 365 days a year, at the cost of $0.99 cents a week or $39.99 a year. For more information on The Daily go to: www.thedaily.com.