["BoSacks Speaks Out: I penned the following rant in this newsletter on March 3, 2011. It seems to me to still work well with the attached article.
BoSacks Speaks Out: Let me first say that I pay and have paid to read the Wall Street Journal since I was a puppy. On the Web I pay for many titles and reading privileges. I am used to paying and I will continue to do so.
On my iPad I have tried and paid for dozens of new magazine and newspaper titles. I also think that I should admit that I am not your typical reader. I happily jumped into the digital reading of books on my ancient Palm Pilot at least a decade ago and never looked back. I don't and haven't read a single non-digital book with the exception of Harry Potter since 1999. What the heck, I am a practicing publishing futurist.
I should also mention that I practice what I preach, and two years ago, I started a small local e-newspaper. It is wildly successful and has a penetration rate of
85% of the adult population of my small town of Copake, NY. www.copakechronicle.com
Today I suggest to you all that the Daily will fail. The Daily is a poorly named throw back to - get this - a "Daily" newspaper. Excuse me but the ship has sailed and dailies are dying a very slow and painful death. I didn't make this up, but it was suggested to me by a famous Publisher, that the Daily, if it had a chance at all, should have been called the Minute. At least then it would have sounded current, whatever that is. The name daily will always suggest yesterday's news, and that is just so old school and quaint. Even the thought "up to the minute" is old by Twitter standards.
So, there you have it another prediction made by BoSacks, as always burning the midnight oil to deliver you the most up-to-date news and prophetic forecasts this side of the rising sun.
"When the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large scientific method in most cases fails. One need only think of the weather, in which case the prediction even for a few days ahead is impossible."" - Albert Einstein (German born American Physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity. Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. 1879-1955)]
By Christopher Zara
Following several reports on Thursday that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS) is deciding the fate of its iPad newspaper, the Daily, some technology insiders are questioning the future of tablet publishing.
Launched just over a year ago, and touted by the newspaper-loving Murdoch as a savior for print media, the Daily boasts more than 100,000 subscribers and 250,000 unique readers each month. Nevertheless, the publication (available only on iPads, smartphones and Android tablets, with select stories highlighted on the Daily’s website) is drowning in estimated losses of $30 million a year. For News Corp., the problem may be connected to the conglomerate’s recent decision to split its underperforming publishing side from its successful entertainment side, but the Daily’s woes are also indicative of larger profitability issues affecting tablet publishing — an industry created almost entirely overnight in April 2010, when Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad to the world.
That event may have unfolded amid much ballyhoo, but the subsequent rush to embrace a technology that promises to recreate the sublime experience of reading magazines and newspapers in print did not pan out as many had hoped. Publishers have bemoaned the iPad’s app-based method of distribution, which leaves them beholden to Apple’s iTunes Store and its 30 percent cut. Many advertisers, meanwhile, have been slow to embrace tablet technology altogether, either because it is unproven or because they don’t understand it.
And yet the iPad and other tablet computers are not an inherently money-losing proposition for publishers, at least not in the eyes of some in the technology industry. “In theory, a publishing model centered on the iPad should succeed,” said Nick Kolakowski, senior editor at technology website Slashdot. “Apple has sold millions of iPads, and people like to use them to read content — for example, all those commuters reading articles on the morning subway.”
Nevertheless, while more straphangers may be reading content on their iPads and other tablets, they’re not necessarily paying for it. The Daily’s 100,000-subscriber milestone, which it hit in February, seems far less impressive when weighed against the 500,000 that Murdoch himself said the publication needs if it wants to break even. But at .99 cents per week and $39.99 per year, that’s a tall order, particularly amid the Internet’s ever-expanding culture of free.
“I think the trouble with the Daily is not the iPad itself, but the fact that the content is locked behind a pay wall,” Kolakowski added. “That’s something that customers have proven reluctant to embrace, even with well-established brands such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.”
Still, others see the subscription model as entirely viable, provided publishers offer something worth paying for. “The keys to success include offering premium content, a great user experience and a tremendous value,” said Morgan Guenther, CEO of Next Issue, an app that allows users to access top-tier magazines such as the New Yorker and Vanity Fair. “While we can’t speak for publishers, we do think Next Issue for iPad and our unlimited plans deliver on this promise.”
For the moment, no one at News Corp. is commenting on the Daily’s future, but the publication’s staffers seem to be staying optimistic, at least publicly. On Friday afternoon, the Daily’s official Twitter feed stayed mum on the rumors, while touting some of the big things it has on the horizon: “Tomorrow we’re launching our AMAZING new in-app magazine, WKND! You’re going to love weekends with The Daily.”
How many weekends it has left is anyone’s guess.
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