This month Rupert Murdoch launched The Daily, an iPad-only news publication. It’s on sale through Apple’s iTunes store and costs just $40 a year, which breaks down to just 14 cents per day. The Daily is focused on attracting a wide array of readers, as it covers breaking news, sports, pop culture, entertainment, apps, games, technology, opinion, celebrity gossip and more. The Daily is being treated like a big deal, too. Murdoch has put together a newsroom of 100+ people, including former New York Post columnist Richard Johnson and New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones.
Murdoch’s focus on building a digital media powerhouse will pay off big. It probably won’t happen in the next year or two, but in the long run – if The Daily continues to evolve and adapt – it will have a bright future. However, as consumers continue to adopt the iPad and tablets, they will become increasingly comfortable getting their news from these new technologies. Additionally, consumers will become excited by the new format in which news is delivered, making the entire media consuming experience more interactive and visual. However, before looking ahead, it’s important to examine the evolution of written news, which can be broken down into four main stages:
1. Print: people had newspapers and magazines delivered to their homes or purchased them at a local store (remember those days?) People weren’t able to access breaking news online – the timing was forced and consumers had to wait until the news arrived to read about what had happened in the past 24 hours.
2. Online: newspapers and magazines began publishing their content online, giving readers the choice between reading content via a physical newspaper or their computer. Consumers got hooked to receiving breaking news at all times of the day.
3. Blogs: The traditional editorial process went out the window – news became more opinionated, less research-based and occurred in real-time. Video and multimedia also became central as blogs have unlimited space for content. Traditional media outlets began sourcing stories to leading blogs, as they wanted to get in on the real-time news cycle and appeal more to online consumers.
4. Devices: The next phase of written news will be focused around specific devices, such as the iPad. For consumers, this means news will be accessible anywhere at any time, due to the mobile nature of tablets.
Let’s examine phase #4 a little bit more: Ever since smartphones came out, media outlets have been designing apps to run on specific platforms and/or devices, such as the iPhone and Android, because they want to be readily available where people are spending their time. Now that tablets have emerged as the next big thing, media outlets must again adapt. However, when adapting to tablets (rather than smartphones) media outlets have the opportunity to do something really special. Tablets, such as the iPad, are media outlets’ best opportunity to be creative, innovative and interactive.
While some media outlets have already caught on, such as WIRED and The Daily. However, the majority of outlets are still throwing up their content without respect for the platform they’re using. In today’s media world, it’s no longer good enough to have well-written content. The user experience is critical for consumers and can be the decisive factor when determining which outlets to purchase/download. The future of news will be device-specific, and the quicker media outlets can claim their place in this world, the better off they will be going forward – as long as they continue to adapt.