In yesterday’s post, Apple iPad Too Dictatorial to Publishers? , I discussed the two main issues RE why newspaper and mag publishers were avoiding Apple as their host digital seller. Those issues were an Apple-applied cut in desired publisher subscription rates and no subscriber data offered to publishers for follow-up sales, etc.
However, Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp.’s Daily digital newspaper have not been deterred. In fact, they have sunk quite an investment into an app for the iPad store.
First sponsors emerge for iPad’s Daily
In the coming weeks, News Corp. is set to unveil one of its more audacious content bets in recent years: The Daily, a newspaper designed for the iPad and the generation of tablet devices it inspired.
Conceived by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who negotiated directly with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, the publication breaks new ground in a couple of ways. First, it’s one of the biggest bets on traditional journalism in years on any platform—100 writers, editors and designers have been hired for the project—since Condé Nast sunk $100 million into Portfolio magazine.
Second, it will break the logjam that has bedeviled publishers attempting to move their subscription models to the iPad. Thus far, publishers have been reluctant to accept Apple’s terms: a 30% cut of subscription fees and no subscriber data. But The Daily will sell subscriptions through Apple’s App Store: 99¢ a day after a two-week trial, according to people briefed on the project, plus the ability to push new content to the app throughout the day. In a sign of how complex this is for Apple and for News Corp., tech blog AllThingsD reported the planned launch this week was delayed as the partners work out the kinks.
But one thing has fallen into place for The Daily: an impressive array of launch sponsors, including Macy’s, Verizon Wireless, Land Rover, Pepsi Max and Virgin America, according to people close to those deals. In addition to sponsoring the project, they’ll help The Daily get off the ground by offering incentives for their customers to download the app, such as frequent flyer miles from Virgin America.
Apple has an initial exclusive window for The Daily, but over time the newspaper will be adapted to a fast-proliferating category of iPad-like tablet devices running Google’s Android or operating systems from Microsoft, BlackBerry and Palm, now a division of HP. A good portion of the Murdoch clan, including Daily publisher Greg Clayman and newly appointed sales chief Christine Cook, were all at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month to take in the new devices.