John Gruber links to a story from the Guardian about the forthcoming Daily – the first “newspaper” designed for the iPad. Not a web version of an existing title, but a news source you can only get through the iPad.
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.
This is an interesting story in itself, but even more interesting for a media student because it’s based on an audience study. It’s a perfect example of how research into audience habits (reception studies, for example) leads to innovation in media forms and changes in the business model of media institutions. That’s three of your key concepts right there. The fourth, representation, will be revealed when we see the actual product, which (and here’s a clue) is said to be ‘Intended to combine “a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence”’.
Hmm. Do I really believe that 79-year-old Rupert came up with this idea, surrounded as he is by much younger tech-savvy people?
The 79-year-old Murdoch is said to have had the idea for the project after studying a survey that suggested readers spent more time immersed in their iPads than they did — comparatively speaking — on the internet, where unfocused surfing is typical. (emphasis added)
So the four key concepts, plus the context of the impact of the iPad on the media industry, the loss of advertising revenue and sales for print newspapers, and the ongoing debate about whether people are willing to pay for content and/or news. You could add in the debate about Murdoch being too powerful, add another one about Steve Jobs‘ Reality Distortion Field (is Murdoch trapped in it?), and a fourth about whether information wants to be free.
In terms of theories, you could do no worse than look at the power law distribution, and the hard data that shows that iOS users seem far more willing to pay small amounts of money on a regular basis than the users of other operating systems. In other words, iOS users are the whales of content consumption.
Finally, to round off your case study, you could compare the upcoming launch of The Daily with the recent print-only launch of the i newspaper. Different approaches to the same problem? Interesting to note that the i too has a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence, whatever that means
- Apple prepping App Store subscription payments for News Corp’s upcoming ‘The Daily’ pub? (engadget.com)
- Apple and News Corp. reported to be working on iPad-only newspaper (business.financialpost.com)
- Why Murdoch’s iPad-Only Newspaper Misses The Point (techdirt.com)