News Corporation has announced a live video feed for its launch of The Daily, an iPad-specific publication that will be introduced by company chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch and Apple iTunes executive Eddy Cue. In-app subscription billing through iTunes is expected to be introduced during the event, enabling News Corp. to charge a recurring 99-cent fee to continue use of its publication. We will be updating this story with additional information regarding the event, which kicks off at 11:00AM Eastern Time today.
Updated: A full play-by-play of the event can be found in chronological order by clicking on the title of this news story. In sum, News Corp. and Apple announced a 99-cent weekly recurring subscription package with an annual $39.99 subscription option—numbers designed to make the $30 million dollar initial setup cost and $500,000 per week expense of operating the publication become profitable over time. Advertising is initially expected to be a smaller contributor than subscriptions to the publication’s bottom line. News Corp. did not commit to the publication’s editorial tone, deflecting questions from the audience as to whether it would shift from the company’s traditionally conservative or “downmarket” perspectives, but claimed that it was being designed to appeal to “everybody.”
Editor’s Note: Comments to this article have been closed as they were largely impertinent to the announcements made today. We’re not interested in hosting a debate on News Corp.‘s well-established political agenda, or discussing whether the company’s products are actually “fair and balanced.”
11:47AM: Subscriptions—advertisers like large audiences. Any thinking of how much better you could be doing if this was free? Murdoch: Advertisers would pay lower rates if it was free rather than paid-for publication. This will draw a better class of advertiser and better rate. Question – what will the split between ad and subscription revenue be, supported by readers or ads? Initially subscriptions, later ads, will eventually come to 50/50 split. That’s it for the Q&A – it’ll be live to download in 10 minutes.
11:43AM: Will Daily be free online on the web? What you share with someone will be free for them to see, but you can’t go to Thedaily.com and read all the stories. What’s the balance on investigative/long-term journalism? Answer: read the product every day and you’ll find out. Question: How would you see this from an ad agency perspective? Answer: it’s a chance to have a terrific marketing environment. We’re encouraging advertisers to produce for this format. It will justify premium ad prices. A flat ad can look great and turn into a video. Pressing a button can take people to learn more about a product. Question: newspapers in general tend to be upmarket or downmarket. This seems to be blurring a lot of boundaries, any demographic information? Answer: targeting everybody.
11:40AM: Steve Jobs was early into this. What can you say about what he might have said. Murdoch: He did call me last week and say the app was really terrific. Question: How will people discover this content from the web? It’s an app. Eddy Cue: People have no problem getting apps. Daily crew: Look at the Apple store and you’ll find it today there. The web makes you make compromises – we wanted to focus on a great experience, people will come to it. Question: Will any of the news/stories be available on the web? Answer: Yes, technically, it’s mirrored on the web, but we expect people will want to see it on the iPad. Anything built on touch or other iPad-specific technology is within the app, but for pages we can mirror on the web, we share so they can be shared, searched, etc. We may choose to promote them on Twitter feed, Tumblr, etc.
11:38AM: How long will this be exclusive with Apple and the iPad? Does this marry Apple and News Corp. in any way that will be a concern for some people? Murdoch: We expect to be on all major tablets, but we expect that the market belongs to Apple for now. Question: What are Murdoch’s favorite apps outside of News Corp’s? I’ve tried some of the games but my seven year old beats me all the time. Question: What’s the voice you envision here? You have to make people think and smile. I want great content that’s incredibly compelling, plus attitude, verve, and punch. Pictures and videos are so good. We want to think about how to create content for people who will spend time with this device. Usage time per session on iPad is 30-45 minutes, unbelievable. So question is how to keep them there with our application…
11:36AM: Will there be an Australian launch of The Daily? It’s a possibility. Question: Why focus on The Daily rather than existing brand like WSJ? Also, what’s happening with the News of the World phone hacking scandal? Answer: WSJ was our first app and inspired us to do this. I have nothing to say, says Murdoch, as to the other matter.
11:35AM: Guardian asks: What will the political tone be? You are going to go centrist to appeal to tech-savvy users? Murdoch: Editorial position will be in the hands of the editor. Others – read the editorial every day and you’ll see our views.
11:33AM: Breaking news – how do you break in? Web sites are constantly breaking news. Answer: We have a lot of different ways. Twitter feeds, tickers, we can drop in a new page and a new story whenever we want to do so, at any time of the day. It’s not a once-a-day static product. But as a consumer, I wouldn’t want something that changes all the time. I want to be told what’s interesting.
11:29AM: Question – how will you determine if it’s successful or not? Answer, when we’re selling millions. Costs are low. So to be a success financially doesn’t take a lot. Just getting to this stage has taken $30 million, but it will be less than $500,000 cost per week without any subscribers or advertising for the company. We expect revolution when we hit the big figures. Question – will subscriptions impact in-app billing as it’s been done? Answer: Apple wants to make it easy to get subscriptions to customers. Question – who is the biggest threat for this business model? Also, will you put Fox content and other News Corp. content into this publication. Answer: Everyone’s a competitor given how much the iPad does, and we’re competing with Angry Birds on some level, very broad competition. We focus on the voice, vision, editorial style. All of News Corp.‘s publications are competitive too.
11:27AM: Question – How will backissue content be handled? For launch, saved articles is the best way to find prior content. There will also be a web archive. But full content won’t be there for the first version (1.0). Question – When will other publishers get subscriptions? Answer – announcement coming soon for other news publications. Question – how will ad impressions be measured? Answer – technology is built into the app to do that.
11:25AM: Billed weekly at 99 cents or yearly at $39.99, your choice. Simple as one click. That’s it for details from Eddy Cue—nothing more on the technical or business side. Photo op and then opportunity to take questions. Awkward photo op where the guys all take the stage together without any iPad in hand or version of the device. Chairs are then brought to the stage for the Q+A session.
11:22AM: Apple’s Eddy Cue on stage. Industry’s first national daily news publication built from the ground up for the iPad, he says. iPad has created a whole new category of device, with 15 million sold, and 9,000 news apps available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Over 200 million news apps downloaded so far. From first day News Corp. shared vision for Daily, Apple felt they were going to redefine the news business. They’ve brought the company’s powerful resources to bear in order to bring something new to the iPad—it’s amazing that something as complex as The Daily can be put together every day, he knows from watching it for the last two weeks.
11:20AM: Touch interactivity and animations can make portions of the experience fun—a Super Bowl timeline with clickable hotspots and pop-ups of people. You can customize a sports team photo feed so you can grab shots of whatever team you want to follow. 99 cents per week, first two weeks free.
11:17AM: Carousel view lets you have a Cover Flow-like view of the pages so you can scroll through them visually, either animating their movement automatically, using a shuffle mode to skip through them; there’s a video anchor to narrate through certain stories, and professional audio reading of certain headlines. There are also sharing tools so that you can tell others about articles—goal is not to have it be an island outside of the web, but rather linked into the web, bringing up web content from within the application and sharing content in some fashion through social networks.
11:13AM: Company’s team takes stage to unveil the first edition. They wanted quality content wrapped in a new look, and have been testing the publication for 6 weeks, producing stories leading up to today. Looks like a magazine that fills the iPad screen in portrait mode, using Egypt story as the lead for the first edition. Flips into portrait mode to present full-screen view of photo content. App seemingly just crashed during 3-D panorama, but they restarted it quickly. HD video content is shown within the app, as is an attractive weather chart. Promise of up to 100 news pages per day.
11:10AM: Aim is to make this “the” indispensable resource of information and entertainment. Take full advantage of what the iPad offers—no paper, no process, no trucks to carry it. Fourteen cents a day. Readers will enjoy engaging design of a professionally edited magazine, immediacy of the web, distinctive voice, stunning photography, high-definition video – won’t lack for wit, opinion, or sense of fun. Daily will continue to develop in utility and originality; it is not a legacy brand moving from print to digital world, so there’s license to experiment, innovate, and evolve to meet customers’ needs. Suggests that Apple’s been working around the clock to make this happen today.
11:05AM: Rupert Murdoch takes the stage with an iPad. Thanks Steve Jobs for singlehandedly changing technology and the media. iPad is an incredible new platform, and he says Apple has put support behind the new venture, along with Eddy Cue. New times demand new journalism, challenge was to take best of traditional journalism and combine it with the best of contemporary technology. 360-degree photographs, touch-sensitive images, and iPad demands complete reimagining of the craft. Growing segment of population doesn’t read newspapers or watch TV news, but is educated and wants it—magic of newspapers and great blogs depends on good editing and surprises they can deliver. Goal is to make the business of newsgathering and editing viable again.
10:59AM: The event is about to begin. Regardless of the value of The Daily itself, expect details on how subscription billing for iOS applications will work, as well as some details on how Apple will handle sharing of customer data with publishers, and possibly changes to the company’s revenue split for downloadable content.
10:53AM: A major question our editors been asking over the past couple of months as The Daily has moved from rumors to actual announcement is why iPad users should want to pay anything for (yet another) News Corp. publication. We’re not fans of the company’s bottom-feeding Fox News, and think Apple’s increasingly prominent buddying up with this company is really unfortunate.
10:50AM: The event is being held in New York at the Guggenheim Museum, with relatively few people in attendance. News Corp. has announced that The Daily will be available in the App Store starting at 12:00PM Eastern today. It is widely expected to be free for the first two weeks, with recurring charges starting thereafter—giving Apple a window to release iOS 4.3 and introduce the subscription billing service in the meanwhile.