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 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.
The iPad provides a much richer experience and real-estate than the standard mobile phone or even the iPhone. New iPad advertising formats, dubbed iPadvertising, might start to bear fruit not only for mobile advertising, but the advertising industry in general.
Will mobile advertising finally grow up and be taken seriously with the emergence of the tablet?
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.
Media executives around the world are holding their breath. Rupert Murdoch’s bold and risky bet on the iPad is on the way. The ultimate hope: it will prove that the iPad is a viable platform for profitable content distribution. A big part of the ‘profitable‘ part: paid content.
But media executives might not want to hold their breath for too long.
According to research firm Knowledge Networks, consumer expectations on
the iPad look a lot like consumer expectations on the internet.
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.
Is the iPad the future of media and publishing? Media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Richard Branson think it is. As a result, they’re making big bets on the iPad.
Another big name apparently has a lot of faith in Apple’s tablet device too: the BBC. According to reports, it is planning to launch a version of iPlayer in the United States, and has chosen to roll it out on the iPad.
In the run-up to the launch of the iPad, there was a lot of talk about
the impact Apple’s tablet computing device would have on traditional
publishers. For some, including publishing execs, the iPad was seen as
potential source of revitalization for newspapers and magazines.
While it remains to be seen whether or not the iPad will be as
beneficial to traditional publishers as many hoped, it has become clear
that finding success on the iPad isn’t any easier than finding success
in the broader market.
Yesterday News International announced that “the new digital products for The Times and The Sunday Times have achieved more than 105,000 paid-for customer sales to date.” So are these figures good or not? Should other media companies be encouraged by these initial results from Rupert’s great experiment?
I’ve frequently been on record in the past, including on Channel 4 News, saying that I didn’t think Murdoch’s paywall plans were the right way forwards. So should I now be eating humble pie, given that the data and results are now public?
Rupert Murdoch’s News International may still have a long way to go in convincing the world that it can succeed by putting its newspaper websites behind a paywall, but that doesn’t mean that News International isn’t confident that it will eventually succeed with the paywall model.
In a sign of its confidence, it is putting the website of the UK’s top-selling Sunday newspaper, News of the World, behind the News International paywall in October.
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.