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.
The number of differences between Facebook and Twitter may be greater than the number of similarities, but that doesn't mean that the companies haven't been watching each other.
Several years ago, of course, there were reports that Facebook and Twitter had held acquisition discussions, but those didn't pan out, and Facebook, some suggested, went on to acquire FriendFeed in an attempt to out-Twitter Twitter.
When Apple announced the iPad, many executives in the publishing industry voiced high hopes for the tablet device. "This could be the technology that helps us capitalize on digital," they effectively said in one way or another.
Of course, today we know that the iPad isn't a panacea for traditional publishers. That, of course, doesn't mean that tablet devices aren't important to them, or that they should abandon all hope.
But how much hope is too much hope?
The Times' iPhone app has been out for some time, but the newspaper recently relaunched the app, making it free for a limited period of time.
The newspaper says it now has more than 100,000 digital subscribers, though it doesn't say how many are subscribing via the website or on other platforms such as the Kindle and iPad.
Clearly, The Times hopes that a free preview of the mobile app will convince people to pay the £2 per week subscription when the paywall comes back down.
The iPad is a source of hope for many traditional publishers. Which explains why publishing moguls like Rupert Murdoch are investing lots of time and money into the tablet device.
But not all iPad strategies are created equal, and one of Murdoch's newspapers, the New York Post, may have the dubious distinction of executing the dumbest iPad strategy yet.
That strategy: in an effort to get readers to pony up for the newspaper's $6.99/month app, block the Safari browser on the iPad from accessing content on the nypost.com website, content that's freely available via any other browser.
For traditional publishers, the Apple has been a blessing and a curse. On one hand, its iOS devices, including the iPad, have created hope and inspired thought about the future of publishing. On the other hand, it's clear that it is no savior.
It's not into charity either. Case in point: the 30% cut Apple demands from subscriptions sold in iOS apps. Begrudgingly, many publishers have agreed to this fee. But not all.
Magazines may not have the best track record when it comes to adopting the newest technologies, but when the iPad launched, it was hard to find a magazine chief who wasn't excited.
Print publishing is particularly tough these days, and the iPad represented hope. As a result, many magazine executives were eager to give the iPad a try. That was a good thing.
Unfortunately, businesses don't run on hope, and despite the fact that the iPad and tablet devices are still very nascent, magazines have thus far found that tablets aren't a panacea for their industry's ailments. Some are even cutting back on their iPad plans.
One of the most storied news dailies, The New York Times, has been
talking about a pay wall for well over a year. Like most newspapers,
times are tough, and to survive and thrive, new sources of revenue must
be found. For obvious reasons, subscriptions are one of the most appealing potential revenue sources.
Yesterday, The New York Times finally pulled the trigger and announced that it
will be launching a paid subscription model later this month.
Some publishers believe that Apple may hold the key to a profitable
future. Thanks to the success of the company's iPad, for instance,
there's a lot of excitement amongst traditional publishers who have seen
their revenue from 'old' channels like print plummet. Some publishing
moguls, such as Rupert Murdoch, are so excited that they're investing
tens of millions of dollars in iPad publishing.
But previously, there was a huge barrier: a lack of an
Apple-sanctioned solution for selling subscriptions from within Apps.
That solution came yesterday, and it offers some things publishers will probably love, but a few things publishers will likely hate too.
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.