In an audacious move, Rupert Murdoch decided to create an iPad only magazine called The Daily. Every day of the year, a new issue is to be released directly to the Apple tablet via application to subscribers of the magazine at a cost of 99 cents a week or 40 dollars a year. But is this magazine worth it or is it merely more FUD reflecting old school media on a modern media device?
When starting the app, the first thing that happens is an animated screen that leads to a loading screen that lets you sit and wait for a minute or two. The app attempts to download the entire magazine before you can view any of it, and even after it finishes loading, the carousel layout slowly loads in the images of the different pages. Even after the entire magazine is loaded, the ad pages will make the reader wait while it reload them.
The magazine itself is well written and does have interesting articles. Murdoch is spending $500 million a year for premium content of 100 pages a day. The quality of the writing shows, and is on par with most printed magazines. To me, the biggest problem is that most of the pages are static and the reader just slides a finger to go to the next page. There are a couple pages with video or up to date sports and weather for the current location, but it’s ultimately just a normal magazine that doesn’t truly make maximum usage of the medium.
The Daily is updated once a day, which is convenient if you download it and read it elsewhere without internet connection, but as news breaks during the date, The Daily doesn’t. Admittedly, it’s meant to be more of an in depth magazine than a news site, stories change as the day goes on, but The Daily won’t. It just seems like that in the digital age, the medium should update with the world.
The Daily itself is a walled garden that keeps its content within the app, but stories can be shared by sending a link in an email to the story on the web. An enterprising hacker took advantage of this and created a website indexing all Daily content each day. The nature of the internet is to make information accessible, but this is the same thing that the Wall Street Journal did when it became a pay site, the difference being the WSJ’s specialized content that has a dedicated audience that are willing to pay for that information, or at least have their businesses pay for it.
After spending a couple days with The Daily, it ultimately felt like old media transposed to a digital page. While there are certain flourishes to the magazine that make use of the iPad, there’s so much more that could be done to make use of the format. As The Daily is now, I don’t see it being worth paying for, even if it’s on par with the pricing of paper magazines and 100 pages of content every day of the week when there’s is comparable content out there and The Daily: Indexed to read the sharable content.