Rupert Murdoch introduced the iPad daily newspaper The Daily today, in a cell reception-less basement theater of the Guggenheim Museum, to a group of media and tech reporters and friends of the production. He was joined by The Daily‘s editor in chief Jesse Angelo, publisher Greg Clayman, Apple VP Eddy Cue, and News Corp.’s chief digital officer Jon Miller.
The mustachioed Jesse Angelo, formerly of the New York Post, answered questions about the content confidently, if brusquely. Their target demographic is “everybody,” their main competition is “everyone” (including Angry Birds, he joked). The Daily is building a new brand that needn’t be colored by Murdoch’s right-leaning media properties, he insisted. “We are patriotic…we believe in free ideas and free issues,” he said, suggesting people read the editorials every day to determine their political bent.
Breaking news will be incorporated to the daily editions, via links out to the web, Twitter feeds and even dropping entirely new stories on the front page, he said. However, Mr. Angelo added, a constantly updating source is not his favorite way to read news, and they will be privileging the user experience as they make those editorial decisions. (Indeed, “Breaking News Notification” is an option that can be switched on or off in the app’s settings.)
Mr. Murdoch said that The Daily will eventually be available on all major tablets, but “this year, next year, and maybe the next year really belong to Apple.” Mr. Murdoch’s reportedly religious belief in the iPad may have been overblown. He couldn’t name another app he used and liked–he joked that he’d tried the games but his seven-year-olds beat him every time. He later said the utility of the The Wall Street Journal app–the first paid newspaper app for iPad–inspired The Daily. (No reporter dared ask about that dream rumor.)
The Daily’s content will be available on the Internet for subscribers only (albeit without the touch-screen bells and whistles) and that will be the best way to access back issues, along with the “saving” articles feature, for now. Any articles “shared” via the in-app Twitter and Facebook buttons will only be viewable behind The Daily‘s .99 cent per week (with a $500 iPad hurdle) pay wall. Likewise, Twitter feeds will be fed into news stories. The tweets of publicly sparring Lily Allen and Elizabeth Hurley made it into this issue and one can imagine its utilty for topics like the protests in Egypt, where hashtags were faster than wire services and TV crews.
Apple’s App Store chief, Eddy Cue (standing in for the ill Steve Jobs), deflected questions about their subscription spats with other publishers. Although the “push” model (in which issues are delivered regularly after a periodic payment, not re-purchased every month) is only available, as of today, for The Daily, Mr. Cue promised an announcement on that front from Apple shortly. “We have a very good relationship with publishers, there are thousands of them in the App Store and we think subscriptions is only going to help them get more customers,” he said.
Of The Daily‘s business model, Mr. Murdoch said it costs less than a half a million dollars to produce each week, not counting ad revenue or subscribers. They predict subscriptions will account for more of the revenue at first, but eventually hope to reach a 50/50 balance. In the first issue, ads (from Pepsi, Virgin Airlines, and HBO) appear as full pages in between pages of content, some with video. The first two weeks of subscription are sponsored by Apple’s new friend Verizon. “We love advertisers and marketers and marketing,” Jon Miller said.
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