The Daily Tabletizes News with Affordable App

The Daily, the first daily newspaper published for delivery as an iPad app, launched today. Targeted at the 50 million Americans who will own tablets, The Daily’s iPad newspaper redefines publishing and costs .14 a day. How much does it cost you to get your news? [See my answer at the end of the post – it may surprise you.]

Here’s a look at the launch that includes a few insights on how the announcement tabletizes the news. Wanted: news app reviews – please leave yours in the comment box. Thanks!

Thanks to Mashable for broadcasting The Daily’s iPad newspaper announcement live, which is where these notes and the screen shot comes from. For more complete coverage, check out Peter Kafka’s coverage for AllThingsD that includes a live blog of The Daily’s launch, images and the press release, Please note that all content here is filtered through my typing intake and editorial lenses. As such, it is not intended to be an exactly accurate transcription or representation.

The Daily’s biggest challenge sounds familiar to all web-based publishers: creating content that’s immersive and rich enough to keep people engaged with the app.

“Simply put, the iPad demands that we completely reinvent our craft.” Rupert Murdoch

First announced about a year ago, the iPad changed the way we look at the world – or make that experience how we interact with a screen? Now, the iPad is changing the daily news business, too. As more and more publishers develop news apps, for PR people this means that your stories will edge beyond, well stories, into pitching tabletizing production values.

Wall Street Journal was the first paper to offer a paid app subscription option. Murdoch’s excitement about that and how good it looked made him think about publishing The Daily. Two hundred million news apps, in all, have been downloaded for the iPad so far. Here’s the app’s description in the iTunes store.

Introducing The Daily – the first digital news publication with original content created every day exclusively for the iPad. Built from scratch by a team of top journalists and designers, The Daily covers the world: breaking news, sports, pop culture, entertainment, apps, games, technology, opinion, celebrity gossip and more. Source: The Daily App on iTunes

The Daily Stats
Launched 2/2/11 at noon EST
Price .14 per day, .99 per week, 39.99 yearly
Target audience 50 million Americans who will own a tablet in the next year
First daily news publication built for the iPad

Murdoch challenged a team of reporters, editors and designers to create something new. A great deal of thought and creativity went into the development. With technology built into the app to measure impressions, The Daily intends to be cutting edge with technology and metrics for media plans.

The Daily Answers the Press

Technology, business and news reporters asked the panel questions. Here are a few I found interesting.

How will you determine if it’s successful?
Murdoch said while ambitions are very big, the overhead is very low. The company invested $30 million to get to this stage and will be running at a cost of less than $500,000 per week.

When you look at The Daily how do you think about the competitive landscape – who is the greatest threat? How are you infusing different parts of the company?
You have to compete with everything now: media, Angry Birds, movies, apps. The Daily’s mindset is you’re competing very broadly. By focusing on the editorial, the visual style and the experience, The Daily adds one more distinct voice.

How will you manage the breaking news element so it doesn’t overwhelm people?
The Daily plans many ways to handle breaking news, including twitter feeds, tickers, and new pages. Because it’s a digital format, the publication can and will change the front page when the news merits.

Will the political tone be more centric for younger tech savvy readers?
Politics will be in the hands of the editor, but at the highest level they are patriotic, and believe in free ideas and free people.

How will folks find the app?
People are finding apps without a problem. The Daily’s app was available at Apple as of noon today.

How does this medium differ from a web experience?
The Daily app focuses on this medium and this device and this audience. The web forces publishers to make comprises that the publisher didn’t want to make.

Technically, The Daily is mirrored on the web. However, not everything you can do on the iPad can be replicated on the web. A lot of what The Daily will do – text, headlines, pictures – will also be created in html pages. The Daily may choose to promote these pages in twitter, tumblr, use the story to get it out there.

Will The Daily be free online on the web?
Not free, but you can share an article on Facebook that friends can see for free.

What will be the mix of day to day vs. long term investigative reporting?
Read the product every day to find out. No clear answer.

How do you see The Daily from ad agency perspective?
It’s a chance to make a terrific marketing environment and encourages advertisers to produce for this format. Going forward, only high quality environments will command premium placements that can supply advertisers with detailed data.

What are the demographics?

How big could the audience have been with a free publication versus a paid subscription audience?
A paid subscriber audience will draw a better class of advertisers at a better rate.

What’s the revenue split between ads versus readers?
Subscriptions will be the most at first. The magical mix is 50/50.

How much do you pay to get your news?

$581. That’s what my company spent in 2010 for two print newspaper subscriptions. Is The Daily News app a better deal?  Maybe, with one big catch: you need an iPad to read the news. But, at .014 per day, .99 per week or $39.99 for a yearly subscription, it wouldn’t take much to make the case to pick one up. Would I still want to keep the $19.95 monthly New York Times subscription even if it does run on five computers? Decisions, decisions . . .

What costs would you consider when adding up your news investment – do magazines, cable count? How about subscriptions to professional associations?