On February 2, 2011 Apple and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation launched the Daily, an iPad newspaper that will cost 99 cents a week. It will not dominate the digital news market the way iTunes came to rule the digital music market. But it sets a disruptive precedent or two.
The Daily is a mixture of the newfangled and the old-fashioned. It has whizzy graphics, including video and “360-degree” pictures. Sport fans can receive the twitterings of their favourite players. Unlike most websites, though, the Daily is available only in America. It features outmoded things such as editorials and paid reporters. Although it can be updated to take in breaking news, it is primarily a daily, not an hourly.
In one sense it is a trailblazer. The Daily is the first product to offer recurring subscriptions through Apple’s store. So far most publishers have been obliged to sell single issues of newspapers and magazines on the iPad. As a result, sales are erratic: Wired, a technology magazine with a beautiful app, sold 100,000 digital copies last June but just 24,400 in December. The Daily’s sales model is better than that. But not much better.
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