The Daily, the world’s first iPad-only newspaper went into publication today. iPad owners get a free two-week demo and have the option of signing up for the paid version thereafter. It costs $.99 for a week-long subscription or $39.99 for a year.
The newspaper, which cost $30 million to create and has a weekly operating price of $500,000, will be updated on the fly. Rupert Murdoch said in his press release that subscribers will get 100 original news, life, arts and entertainment stories daily. The pieces will be highly interactive, featuring video, interactive graphics, slideshow photography, 360 degree photos and more. (Playing video directly above text reminds me of the newspapers in Harry Potter–just not 3D). It also features crossword and Sudoku puzzles, the ability to leave audio comments, stories that will be read aloud, and intuitive navigational features. Subscribers can save stories by clicking on a paper clip. Also, it is not an entirely closed ecosystem. Readers can post Daily stories on the web and share them via Facebook, e-mail and Twitter.
Rupert Murdoch, the famous media mogul, teamed up with Apple and Steve Jobs to create The Daily. The creators as well as mainstream news media hope that it will spearhead a tablet revolution to revitalize the faltering newspaper industry. The business model allows users to be automatically billed on iTunes much like subscription newspapers. But the company cuts the costs of printing and distributing actual newspapers. And the new form factor–the iPad–makes it different than publishing for the world wide web. People can interact with the Daily unlike any other newspaper in the world. The lack of investment in multi-million dollar printing presses and distribution trucks allows it to be delivered real cheap. My prognosis: people will be willing to pay such an affordable price for all that interaction. Also, the app features full-page interactive and customizable advertising for yet another revenue stream.
With an operating cost of just $500,000 a week, The Daily needs only 500,000 subscribers to turn a profit. That shouldn’t be too tough, considering Apple has already sold around 7 million iPads to date.