Rupert Murdoch Launches 'The Daily'
NEW YORK – “New times demand new journalism," said Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation, introducing The Daily, the company’s long-gestating iPad newspaper Wednesday.
Murdoch thanked “the amazing Steve Jobs," who last month took a medical leave as CEO of Apple. Jobs was not in attendance, at the launch event at Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum. But Murdoch noted that he spoke to the Apple visionary last week, adding, “Steve has been a champion of The Daily from day one."
The Daily, which is available for .99 a week or $39.99 a year through iTunes, features HD video, animated graphics and text content, of course. Some stories are fronted by a TV news anchor, while others feature 360-degree photos. There are also personalized web tools, social media sharing and Web integration. The central navigation tool, called the carousel," enables direct access to stories. A customized sports section lets users follow their favorite teams including their Tweets, stats and game schedules.
“You don’t have to live in Wisconsin to get the Green Bay Packers as your home team in your paper," said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vp of Internet Services.
“Our challenge," added Murdoch, “is to take the best of traditional journalism …and combine it with the best of contemporary technology."
The media mogul whose newspapers include The Times, The Sunday Times and News of the World in the UK and the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal in the U.S., has a well-documented reverence for old-fashioned media. But he asserted that The Daily was well-positioned to reach new consumers precisely because it is not a “legacy brand moving from the print to the digital world."
“We must make the business of news gathering ….viable again," he added.
And while The Daily is currently exclusive to the iPad, which dominates the tablet market with 15 million iPads sold since its launch last April, according to Cue, Murdoch allowed that it would eventually be available on “all major tablets." Samsung and Motorola are at work on tablets for Google’s Android operating system. (Global tablet sales are expected to total approximately 55 million units this year and more than 200 million by 2014, according to Gartner, Inc.)
According to Murdoch, start-up investment was $30 million, much less than the reported $100 million, with weekly operating costs of about $500,000. “And that’s without any advertisers and any subscribers yet," he said.
“Voice" was a common catch-all at the event; as in The Daily will have a distinctive one. And The Daily has lured many media stars including Sasha Frere-Jones, the music critic at The New Yorker, and erstwhile Page Six editor Richard Johnson. Asked what kind of editorial stance The Daily would mine, editor Jesse Angelo said: “This is a new platform. We really want a new voice. We are patriotic. We love America."