News Corp hopes to profit where everyone else has failed
When the iPad first launched, the entire print magazine industry saw a great rising surge of hope. Here was a hip, advanced, sexy way to market their products. Tablets must be the future of magazines! "If we can just translate our content into a really slick magazine app, paying readers will come out of the woodwork!"
Much delayed iPad newspaper 'The Daily' is the ultimate manifestation of this hope. NewsCorp believes this subscription-based periodical will draw in users thanks to a stable of experienced writers and the tablet-specific layout.
News Corp executive James Murdoch (Rupert's son- absolutely no nepotism here!) recently stated that 'The Daily' will launch in two weeks. It will cost about 1 dollar per week, which is more reasonable than any other news/magazine subscription I know of.
Other News Corp publications were recently put behind online paywalls, and Murdoch confirmed that traffic dropped off significantly in the aftermath. However, he claims that advertisers are still happy. News Corp has maintained for some time that most of the views brought in by non-paywall sites are nearly worthless.
So here's the problem. We've had a year to watch a bunch of different magazines try- and fail- to make the iPad work as a platform. Wired's downloads went from 100,000 in June to 22,000 in October. Ad Age did an excellent study on this late in 2010, and found that iPad sales for several periodicals only amounted to 1% of their print sales.
In fact, the end of last year saw a drop in sales for every single iPad magazine that made their figures available for study. You'd think News Corp would be scared. They're betting on a daily update schedule and a low price to bring 'The Daily' success where others have tasted only ashes.