Dave Allen

The end of the Rupert Murdoch Daily – No surprise

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Rupert Murdoch, The Daily, Closes, Dave Allen, North

It is not always pleasant to be right. Where employees and their jobs are concerned the shutting down of any business is always personal to those on the front lines. Unfortunately the writing has been on the wall for The Daily ever since it launched. I won’t go deep into the background here, I just want to point out that what was going on was that Murdoch was spending money in the present to solve a problem of News Corporation’s recent past – the decline in newspaper subscriptions and sales. He figured that a digital solution was at hand, one that he could charge users for, and one that would attract marketers and advertising dollars.

Well it didn’t work out. And the irony is that The Daily was an app after all, a mobile app for smartphones and tablets, which is where the audience is gathering in huge numbers. Out of the box though, I suspect that the research into how users might interact with the app was suspect. Another large issue is mobile advertising and how users are not interacting with that advertising in meaningful numbers.

Here’s a graph from The Atlantic story about the failure of The Daily where you’ll see that TV advertising still dominates, and will continue to do so in a second-screen world:

Mobile Advertising, The Daily, Dave Allen, North

I’ll leave you with this insightful post from Justin Spohn, written back in February of 2011 soon after The Daily launched.

Extract:

In a time when information is faster, more connected and expansive than ever – The Daily seems to be taking a stand that information should be slower, less connected and more closed. In writing this article I have at least 10 browser windows open to articles about The Daily. Most of these were from links sent to me from friends, or that came across Twitter, or that I found in other articles. While this might be a nonstandard way of gathering info, it’s the nature of web for these bits of information and people to all be interlinked and available. The architecture of The Daily insists on operating entirely outside this ecosystem, I’m either in The Daily, or I’m out of it, a choice I believe goes back to a history of designing to deliver readers to advertisers.

This, I think, is the challenge for the The Daily, or any publication: to design a product that delivers some discreet, tangible value for their readers. Until they can do this, I think the questions about pricing or distribution models are irrelevant. It’s an unfamiliar problem for the news industry, and I for one have no idea what the answer is, or even if there is an answer.

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