Mobile-first, or web-first? Neither alone is a real strategy for success.
For Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., learning that has proved to be an expensive experience as the media giant has decided to abandon its iPad-only publication, The Daily, after less than two years.
With Facebook going public and expecting to receive a valuation of up to $100bn when its shares hit the market, it's easy to forget that just a handful of years ago, Facebook wasn't the only game in town in the social networking space.
And for a time, there was actually another leader: MySpace.
Earlier this year, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. announced that it was making a significant bet on tablet devices.
The bet: that an iPad-only news publication could launch and thrive at a time when many established news publications were struggling to survive.
"New times demand new journalism," Murdoch proclaimed. And with eight figures in investment in The Daily, he stated confidently, "we believe The Daily will be the model for how stories are told and consumed in this digital age".
Half a year later, however, The Daily appears to be off to a slower start than Murdoch may have anticipated.
Most major media companies have accepted that digital is here to stay, and many are embracing digital, recognizing that it could some day soon be their most important channel.
But that doesn't mean that they have stopped making poor digital decisions.
Yesterday, News Corp. made what many publishing executives hope will be
one of the most important announcements in the annals of digital
publishing: the launch of the much-anticipated iPad publication, The
But while subscribing to The Daily is probably accurately described as 'affordable' at 99 cents a week, or $39.99/year, producing the publication isn't. News Corp. has confirmed that its investment to date is already a whopping $30m, and that The Daily will have a weekly overhead of $500,000.
Ask many consumers why they've stopped purchasing dead tree publications like newspapers, and chances are you'll hear comments like "the cost is too high."
Ask those same consumers what they expect when it comes to the digital/tablet versions of their newspapers of choice, and you'll probably learn that they expect the cost to be lower. And for good reason: there's no paper and ink to buy; the marginal cost of selling an issue of a newspaper on an iPad is pretty close to $0.
Rupert Murdoch is just getting started with Newcorp.'s digital paywalls. After the (comparatively) great success that The Wall Street Journal has had charging for its website, Murdoch is looking to get more revenue for the company's other digital properties. First to go behind a paywall was The London Times.
It may be too early to tell, but if the first two weeks results are any indication, charging for general interest publications is going to be a hard sell.
The New York Times announced plans to charge for web access to its content earlier this year, but it looks like Rupert Murdoch's plan to "institute fair pricing for digital journalism" is going to beat Schulzberger to the punch. Today News Corp. announced that U.K. properties The Times and Sunday Times will go behind a paywall in June.
News Corp. has wisened to the fact that paid models need to offer added value. The Times' paid sites will have extra features to get the audience "to be part of it." The question is, will customers buy into it?
Video portal Hulu is quickly trying to make good on its promise to charge for content, but as of yet no one is talking about what a premium Hulu product will look like.
After rumors surfaced about a two tiered subscription model earlier this week, Disney EVP Kevin Mayer came out to say that “no decisions have been made” on Hulu Premium. That's too bad, because there are plenty of ways the Hulu could successfully charge for money. It's just not clear that News Corp. will go ahead with them.
Rupert Murdoch's media empire produces news, but he also has a habit of making it himself. Most recently, he was a headline-creator when he stated he'd be pulling his websites out of Google's index.
Journalism in the 21st century is clearly something that matters a lot to Murdoch, both financially and personally. And in an op-ed piece in his own Wall Street Journal, Murdoch laid out his views on where he sees journalism going, and who needs to stay out of it.