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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James


Media Vent

Bob Sacks
Stats on Magazine Launches Are Irrelevant & Misleading
Jul 2, 2015

My friend Samir Husni has penned a short essay and complaint about "numbers" used in our industry for purposes of...

Marketing Services Lab

The Marketing Services Lab
3 Ways To Tell The Content Marketing Boom Spells Revenue Growth for Publishers
Jun 30, 2015

Last week Publishing Executive announced the launch of the Publishing & Media Labthat we will host at the 2015 Content Marketing World conference this...

Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
Miniaturize & Simplify, Solutions to Publishers' Mobile Problem
Jun 15, 2015

As many publishers have found, providing a magazine experience on a mobile app and getting people to engage with it...

B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
Content is Money
Jun 12, 2015

Most of the publishing world says Content is King. The publishers at SIPA say Content is Money. The annual conference...

Industry Insiders

The Insiders
Apple Throws Publishers Another Curve Ball
Jun 9, 2015

The relationship between Apple and the magazine publishing industry has been acrimonious since the launch of the iPad in 2010...

The Digital Market

Thea Selby
4 Takeaways from the New Apple App Analytics
May 26, 2015

One of the lesser-known facts about magazine apps is that publishers can glean very little information about them and how...

Will The Daily's Demise Chill Publishers' Mobile Innovation? No Way!

You might have heard that The Daily, News Corp's iPad-only newspaper, is shutting down as of Dec. 15. It was certainly the buzz yesterday at Manhattan's New Yorker Hotel, where publishing people gathered under art deco friezes for the Media App Summit, a one-day event produced by MediaBistro (with Publishing Executive as a media partner).

Jason Hirshhorn, CEO of the ReDEF Group and former MySpace co-president, offered an insider's view of the original motivation for The Daily within News Corp and what its closing means for the company. He believes The Daily (and MySpace) were worthwhile endeavors for the media giant, regardless of perceptions.

"You can look at MySpace and The Daily as failures by News Corp, but you could also see them as impetuses for how they modernize their company," he said, pointing out News Corp's many successes in digital distribution including the Wall Street Journal app. "They are very modern when it comes to media distribution … this came out of having the expertise of MySpace and The Daily and other businesses to educate and partner with the rest of the company."

Hirshhorn said Rupert Murdoch, whom he describes as "the most curious guy in the world," wanted to demonstrate what a tablet-based publication could look like, which is why he partnered with Apple early on to bring the The Daily to the iPad. He chalked up its failure to catch on in high numbers to its platform exclusivity. "You can't really have a huge business based off of one tablet in a nascent space," he said.

This is why News Corp's experience with The Daily should not put any publisher off the idea of pushing products to mobile. Most in the industry recognize the value of extending trusted brands across many platforms; News Corp's mistake was creating a brand exclusively for one device, then expecting people to pay for it when similar products could be accessed for free elsewhere.

The reasoning was that the company could create a digital global brand, sort of a USA Today for the planet; the reality is that the quality news and graphics to be found in The Daily were not enough to draw users and advertisers when there are so many good cross-media experiences to be had. The future of digital media is in brand extensions and HTML5-based products that flow seamlessly from Web to mobile, enabling rich media experiences without long downloads—none of which was possible for The Daily. 

News Corp can afford to take big risks and eat losses. The rest of us can learn from them, and observe what The Daily's publisher, Greg Clayman, does as he takes this experience to his new job overseeing News Corp's global digital strategy. 

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