Whatever else you think of him, Rupert Murdoch has a vision for the future of news. While other news outlets are struggling to balance their traditional newsrooms with a Twitter, Facebook and YouTube presence, Murdoch’s media holdings are taking the lead in digital media innovation. And it looks like Murdoch is targeting a younger, mid-20s to mid-30s audience with his soon-to-be-launched, tablet-only newspaper called The Daily.
The Daily will be a daily newspaper available exclusively on Apple’s iPad. This exclusivity speaks to one part of Murdoch’s news strategy – make The Daily elite. This sense of being in on a conversation that only other iPad owners will be in on will certainly attract the status-symbol-hungry set of trendy young adults.
But Murdoch clearly sees iPads becoming more ubiquitous in the coming years. He has pulled some of his most trusted and well-known media companions (including Jesse Angelo, the former managing editor of The New York Post) into The Daily’s editorial team. This illustrates just how invested Murdoch is in adding this digital-only publication to his media empire, and indicates that it is more than simply a flippant experiment.
The price point of this exclusive daily newspaper is also made to be attractive to the younger crowd: 99 cents a week or $4.25 a month is quite affordable.
Although some are doubting the success of this digital newspaper based on several factors (including its large, 100-journalist workforce, the uncertainty of subscription-based apps on iPads and handing over editorial control, at least in part, to Steve Jobs), I think Murdoch has the financial and experiential background to do this right.
The Daily would be, of course, ideal for daily commuters looking to catch up on the news of the day on their way to or from work. And isn’t an iPad much more convenient than a crinkly, overly-large print newspaper? If successful, The Daily might just mark a turning point in how consumers want to get their news.
Although iPads are still cost-prohibitive for a large portion of the population, tablet technology in general will eventually come down in price. This will make The Daily – and its competitors – more attractive to a wider sphere than just young professional commuters. Imagine getting your daily Sunday morning paper delivered to your iPad while you sleep instead of having to grab it from your doorstep. This small increase in convenience, paired with the interactivity of a digital news product, will no doubt give The Daily a boost in popularity when tablets become more mainstream.
However, Murdoch won’t be alone in the digital tablet news frontier: Richard Branson is expected to announce his own tablet magazine as early as tomorrow.
These tablet-only news wars look poised to explode even before the new year hits. Digital news delivery has been a contentious issue, and Murdoch’s The Daily – with its large workforce and huge startup costs – does have the odds stacked against it. However, if it can target young professionals and maintain journalistic integrity in its fast-paced, digital reporting, it might just herald a new type of newsroom altogether.