News International’s latest digital venture is an ambitious, (for now) iPad only, daily newspaper, that looks like a magazine and comes with more visual delectables than we’ve seen in anything so far.
The App comes with a free two week subscription and costs 99 cents after that. It cost Murdoch $300 million to produce, employs 100 staff (mostly journalists), and, Murdoch has said, will cost $26 million a year to run.
In terms of content, The Daily is more tabloidy than anything the American news consumer is used to. With the exception of the occasional scrolling Twitter box, its content, including video and photos, is all original – sectioned into News, Gossip, Opinion, Arts & Life, Apps & Games, Sports.
The Daily’s landmark visual innovation (well, not quite) is its Carousel, which allows iTunes-like scrolling shots of every page in an edition.
The App does lots of creative things with interactive images. Today, they had a shot of the Sendai airport, before and after the tsunami off the North East coast of Japan.
They also featured a slideshow of the devastation – glossy pictures above touchable thumbnails of the other pics in the story.
In many editions, there is also a featured 360° photo that allows readers to navigate an entire area (although in The Daily’s case it feels more appropriate to call them viewers). This feature only works in portait and allows for cool angles like the one below, where I’ve captured the shadow of the photographer’s arm holding the camera.
In-app sharing options are standard and simple (including in the advertisements).
The Daily editors are also experimenting with media, large pictures in particular, that spill from one page to the next in multi-page stories. For now, this works with varying degrees of success but it highlights the huge advantage Murdoch is giving himself in the realm of mobile news platforms: experimentation.
The possibilities for visual gimmicks, story layout and non-linear news presentation are only beginning to be tapped on devices like the iPad and the slew of upcoming tablet devices.
If Murdoch’s subscription model (cheaper than his paid offerings of traditional print titles like the Times) can sustain The Daily, he is setting himself up to figure out what can work and what can’t in the post-paper news browsing era and The Daily seems like an ideal platform for this trial and error. Not least because it is, well, daily.