What the Death of The Daily Means for Digital News Delivery
On December 3rd, News Corp. shut down The Daily, an innovative digital newspaper published exclusively for the iPad. From its initial release, The Daily was lauded as a newspaper for the digital generation, incorporating social media, video, and other interactive features directly into the newspaper itself. In short, it took advantage of the tablet medium to produce content that is impossible to deliver in a traditional newspaper. According to its own website, The Daily was the most popular news app in the App Store in 2011. So why, one year later, did News Corp. cancel The Daily as a standalone publication? Ultimately, it comes down to two things: technology and content.
Initially, The Daily read like a list of exciting new features tailored to the unique capabilities of the iPad in a way users hadn’t seen before. While this initially drummed up quite a bit of support, it also made the paper susceptible to problems. Essentially, The Daily pandered to what it thought people wanted, but it didn’t refine its strategy once it became apparent which features people actually used. Having an interactive panel embedded in the middle of an article excited users initially, and elements such as these were expected in a “newspaper of the future”. Unfortunately, these elements turned out to be more distracting than anything, and while they didn’t really detract from the content, they didn’t add anything either. This might be okay, except these elements required a huge and expensive staff relative to their profitability, and failure to streamline caused The Daily to bleed funds rapidly.
Despite the regular inclusion of video and audio content in the articles on The Daily, it was still designed and presented as a digital newspaper. While this was meant to create a familiar environment for content consumption, it also suffered from some of the same issues that have been plaguing other digital news sources, including The New York Times application. The issue stems from advertising revenue streams. Even in a paid-subscription model for digital delivery, publications count on ad revenues as a significant profit source. However, compared to ads on print news sources, digital ads do not convert nearly as many customers. People are far more wary, and less accepting, of ads in the digital sphere.Continued on the next page