Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Murdoch and Jobs make nice for The Daily

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch are combining their Apple and News International muscle and brains for The Daily. Per reports (such reports were inevitable once the venture started hiring staff), the pair’s …

Tue, Nov 23, 2010, 10:33

   

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch are combining their Apple and News International muscle and brains for The Daily.

Per reports (such reports were inevitable once the venture started hiring staff), the pair’s daily newspaper iPad app will be launched in the coming months. The publication, said to combine “a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence”, has already hired staff including some who’ve worked at such Murdoch titles as The Sun and New York Post (Page Six gossip king Richard Johnson is said to be on the payroll), as well as some surprising hires (New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones will oversee the title’s arts and culture content).

The Daily is an interesting beast on several levels, starting with the man signing the cheques. Murdoch may be one of the shrewdest operators in the ink business, but his online forays (see the purchase of MySpace, for example) have been less spectacular, while the jury is still out on the Times/Sunday Times’ paywall. Nevertheless, every move by Murdoch is watched carefully by other media operators. If Murdoch’s great wall works, expect to see other walls going up left, right and centre in an effort to make cash from what is currently free online content. With The Daily, Murdoch will be looking to make cash from subscriptions (and perhaps adverts as well?) in addition to staking out some new terrain

Then, there’s Jobs. As the music industry discovered to its cost, don’t assume that Jobs is riding in here as some sort of white knight in a black polo-neck to save the media business. Jobs is in the business of flogging Apple gear and he probably views The Daily as another way to flog iPads. Yes, there will also be some revenue from subscriptions to The Daily (mooted to be 99c a week or $50 a year), but if innovations like The Daily drive people to whip out their credit cards to purchase iPads, Jobs will be happy.

While there won’t be huge printing and distribution bills to be paid, revenue will still be needed to pay the huge number of staff producing original content for the publication. However, it remains to be seen if there’s enough of a demand for this orginal content to bring people to The Daily. Look at The Sunday Times, for example. The numbers reading its post-paywall content are far, far less than those who had a look aty what AA Gill and co had to say when it was free to browse. And while there may be some brilliant journalism behind that wall, it’s no longer part of the wider dialogue. That said, the “wider dialogue” doesn’t pay the bills at the end of the month. All eyes on The Daily.

(You can expect to hear our Banter talking heads waxing lyrical about The Daily amongst many other Publishing 2020 topics tomorrow night)

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