As Internet-only news sites continue to navigate the ever changing landscape of digital content, old-school players transitioning from paper have been experimenting with new models. Now the most recent high profile experiment, a tablet-only news project from the publishers of the Wall Street Journal, supported by Apple, has come to an end.
News Corp has announced that it will shutter the tablet news product known as The Daily. About a year ago, the project was launched with a major event, and offered as a general interest tablet news product (think USA Today with a bit of snark) selling for .99 cents per week or $39.99 per year.
During the app's launch event, Apple's Eddy Cue, now the company's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, appeared alongside News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch, giving a public face to Apple's support of the project. And while attempting to get traction with a new paid tablet news app isn't necessarily outrageous on its face, particularly when that app caters to a specific niche, many media insiders seemed skeptical that users would pay for the right to read general interest news easily accessible for free on hundreds of sites around the Web.
Finally, after a year of attempting to crack the code of profitable, tablet-only content, the company decided that The Daily simply wasn't working. Today, Murdoch said, "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."
However, it's still early days for the tablet content business, with new tablet-only upstarts like The Magazine (technology), Backstory (film), and others making headway as the tablet device space continues to go mainstream. Nevertheless, few seemed surprised by the closing of The Daily. The New York Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts took to Twitter to say, "Demise of The Daily also represents a rare miscalculation by Apple, a prominent and visible supporter of project."