The application, currently available in the US App Store, is free for the first month. The hope is that The Daily will redefine what a news publication consists of moving forward. Murdoch himself announced some pretty lofty goals during the event, but since it’s public release, the application is having some problems.
First, the application takes a ridiculously long time to load, which is to be expected, considering the fanfare that came with the application. People have been talking about the release for months.
Despite the press given to “revolutionary” applications, the application itself doesn’t offer much that other digital magazines haven’t either already delivered or promised.
Immersive advertising was introduced in the Wired application, updates on the fly was promised by Project (they haven’t delivered yet), and cutting edge social features is a stalwart in most news applications already.
What is New
The Daily offers Game Center tie-ins for, and we’re assuming here, Sudoku and Crossword puzzles. That’s a first.
The application also offers Apple’s new subscription model. Apple, who was represented at the event by Eddy Cue, refused to offer any commentary on what the subscription model will provide for other publications moving forward. Cue did point out that Apple will have an announcement in coming weeks about the subscription APIs that they’re releasing.
That’s all that’s really new in this application. The fanfare seems a little misguided.
The Daily will be available for 14 cents per day, or $1 dollar per week. The price point is the major factor here.
The Real Deal: It’s About Content, Not the Pretty Bow
This application is wrapped up in a nice little bow and shipped off to customers. The price is nice, but what will keep readers engaged is the quality of content available on a daily basis.
One thing is for certain, The Daily is committed to daily updates, and that’s going to be a necessity moving forward. People want their news as it’s breaking these days, and the moment The Daily misses something like that, a lot of people will be questioning its usefulness as a medium. The first edition is well written, and put together nicely, but it remains to be seen if the quality can be maintained on a daily basis.
On a personal note, it’s a little suspect that the application lacks a general technology section, but includes an Apps & Games category. While making their pitch during their press event, Murdoch pointed out that society is technologically savvy, and educated. The people rocking the iPads today want tech news, and it would have helped had News Corps included one.
What The Daily is Up Against
The Daily isn’t up against blogs in a battle for dominance. Instead, they’re fighting an entire generation of readers who value free over quality, as MattsMacintosh eloquently stated over Twitter during the event.
That’s the real battle here. The Daily won’t have an easy time changing that culture. It’s pretty clear that they believe that their writing team and editors will provide a better reading experience for readers, but do people care about that any more when they can get the news for free online?
We clearly don’t have the answers, but it’s something to think about. Is the iPad, as a news delivery mechanism, too late to patch the leak? People expect free by default, and changing their opinions is going to be a long process.
At $0.99 per week, it’s hard to see this as being anything but a success. The Daily is far from the ground-breaker that most were hoping for, but it certainly has a leg up on the competition. Hopefully once the money starts to roll in, we’ll see other innovations that will help redefine the medium. Right now “The message in the medium” is more of the same, but that doesn’t mean that it will be that way in the future.