Rupert Murdoch is determined to take the free out of Internet publishing if it’s the last thing he does on this earth. In his latest effort to do so he is even in cahoots with someone that seems a bit surprising, Steve Jobs.
Murdoch’s News Corp has apparently sunk $30 million into hiring 100 people to produce an iPad only paper in the very near future called “The Daily”.
The ‘paper’ is expected to cost 99 cents per week and provide readers with another outlet for news. To what degree there will be original news and a mashup of other News Corp. properties remains to be seen but the staff reports of only 100 is pretty small for a full-blown news organization. Whatever the look, it is likely to be announced this month with a launch set for the start of next year.
The collaboration, which has been secretly under development in New York for several months, promises to be the world’s first “newspaper” designed exclusively for new tablet-style computers such as Apple’s iPad, with a launch planned for early next year.
Intended to combine “a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence”, the publication represents Murdoch’s determination to push the newspaper business beyond the realm of print.
The publishing giant is apparently latching on to what I call the “Internet Law of Large Numbers”. It has nothing to do with the traditional Law of Large Numbers but it sounds nice. I think it works like this. Take a large number of people (like the number using an iPad) then say “All you need is a very small percentage of those users to use your latest and greatest offering in order to be successful” and you have a business plan! Looks like that’s close to the thinking about this one. Read on
Murdoch believes the iPad is going to be a “game changer” and he has seen projections that there will be 40 million iPads in circulation by the end of 2011. A source said: “He envisions a world in which every family has a iPad in the home and it becomes the device from which they get their news and information. If only 5% of those 40 million subscribe to the Daily, that’s already two million customers.”
It’s the old “Heck, at least 5% of any large number of people can be expected to be enough of a sucker to buy anything” theory. Is that taught at the Harvard Business School?
So will this be a success? I don’t have a clue. I am not an iPad owner (I know, I am very uncool) but I also can’t imagine that people are looking for a completely new news source. What they want is the ones they already read and trust (to whatever degree) to remain free and to figure out how to keep providing the same content on the web that they have always paid for in print. That’s a stupid and backwards piece of logic on the part of us consumers but welcome to the Internet age!
So you iPad owners out there, are you looking for a new ‘newspaper’ to pay for and digest on your iPad? Let’s do an informal survey here at MP to let ol’ Rupert know if he is on the right track or not.