Rupert Murdoch Is Finally Giving Up on "the World's First iPad-Only Newspaper"

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Dec. 3 2012 10:03 AM

Why the World's First iPad-Only Newspaper Should Be Its Last

The Daily website
The Daily's website was just an ad for the iPad app.

Screenshot / thedaily.com

The world's first iPad-only newspaper may also be its last. To no one's surprise, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. announced Monday that The Daily will cease publication on Dec. 15 after less than two years in existence. In a statement, the media baron eulogized The Daily as "a bold experiment." That's certainly one way to describe a news outlet whose content was available neither in print nor on the Web nor on most mobile devices.

Will Oremus Will Oremus

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

According to Pew Internet, one in four American adults owns a tablet. Of those, market research suggests that a little more than half own an iPad rather than an Android. And of those, my guess is that precious few saw good reason to prefer an iPad-exclusive news app to the iPad versions of much larger news organizations like the New York Times.

Advertisement

Murdoch surmised correctly that online news consumption was beginning to move from the Web to mobile devices. But The Daily missed the whole point of digital publication, which is that you can reach a vast, worldwide audience across a wide array of platforms without having to design entirely separate products for each one. It's one thing for general-interest magazines like Slate, Salon, Buzzfeed or the Huffington Post to do away with the huge costs and constraints of a print product. Once you've done that, narrowing your focus to a single device limits your audience far more sharply than it limits your expenses.

In a press release, News Corp says The Daily's founding editor in chief, Jesse Angelo, will become publisher of the New York Post, and some Daily staff will move to the Post as well. Here's Murdoch's full statement:

From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term. Therefore we will take the very best of what we have learned at The Daily and apply it to all our properties. Under the editorial leadership of Editor-in-Chief Col Allan and the business and digital leadership of Jesse, I know The New York Post will continue to grow and become stronger on the web, on mobile, and not least, the paper itself. I want to thank all of the journalists, digital and business professionals for the hard work they put into The Daily.

For what it's worth, I'm told The Daily had some good journalists working for it. I don't know. I've never read it.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 22 2014 2:27 PM Facebook Made $595 Million in the U.K. Last Year. It Paid $0 in Taxes
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 22 2014 1:01 PM The Surprisingly Xenophobic Origins of Wonder Bread
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.