December 7, 2012
Another News Corp digital venture bites the dust.
Yesterday it was MySpace, once a leading social networking site. Today its The Daily --an American online newspaper , which was held up as embodying the news media's future. It was the first to be designed for the iPad and it had the backing of the deep-pocketed News Corporation. It was a loss making venture. It shows that the content of Murdoch's subscription news (an iPad newspaper) not worth paying for and that it isn't unique enough.
The Daily needed at least 500,000 subscriptions to make ends meet, but it was stuck at a mere 100,000 in its second year of existence. It would suggest that there are limits to the typical general newspaper selling commodity news in an online existence. Only a few of these --eg., the New York Times -- are likely to make the transition from the demise of the ad market to a digital world.
The situation is depressing--- in the UK, for instance, the Times and the Sunday Times, the Independent and the Guardian and Observer all lose money. Its depressing in Australia because of the low quality of journalism. Mark Latham spells it out:
The public has seen too many errors and too many smear campaigns masquerading as “investigative reporting” to take the media seriously. Unable to get reliable, independent information about politics, they see little point in following the public debate. Hopefully, a decade from now, newspapers and TV news bulletins will no longer exist, having gone the way of record players and typewriters.
There is a deep-seated distrust of journalism, which to all intents and purposes, is a dying profession.
Is the digital future primarily one of niche sites --eg., Politico in the US , which targets election junkies, policy wonks and candidates with ambition; or Crikey in Australia. The Huffington Post made it through a unique combination of unscrupulous "aggrelooting" of contents from a variety of willing and unwilling sources, legions of unpaid bloggers.