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The Daily iPad periodical: Prospects for success and wish lists

dailyAs the launch date of Rupert Murdoch’s iPad periodical The Daily approaches, more pundits are weighing in on what they want from it, or how it could succeed or fail.

At PaidContent, Evan Rudowski of SubHub discusses the failure of Rupert Murdoch’s last big attempt at taking the digital media world by storm, 1995’s failed experiment “iGuide”, in which he took part. Based on his experiences there, Rudowski offers some advice to The Daily’s production team about warning signs to look out for that it might go the same way. For example:

In its short, 15-month lifespan, however, iGuide endured at least three major changes of senior management—along with their assistants, henchmen and other favorites. For the rest of us, much time and energy had to be spent navigating our own place in that ever-changing organization. A big warning sign for The Daily would be similar churn at the management level.

Judging by Rudowski’s description, iGuide faltered because it couldn’t find either a cohesive identity or a funding partner. It ended up going under and having its lunch eaten by the other startups of the area, most notably Excite (which eventually merged with @Home and was later acquired by AskJeeves).

Veteran journalist Alan D. Mutter writes in his “Reflections of a Newsosaur” blog that The Daily has several points on which it could either succeed or fail. On the plus side, it doesn’t come with the baggage from a print version that dogs most newspapers’ and magazines’ attempts to make a transition to the web or tablets. However, it can pull content from any of the other papers and other media in Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. And it can rely on said empire for promotion and funding. (Murdoch’s apparently in a better place to be able to fund new media ventures now than at the time he tried iGuide.)

On the other hand, The Daily might be cheap but it’s not free, and it will compete with every other news source and aggregator on the net. Its potential audience is going to be limited to only those people who own an iPad; its actual audience will be limited to the subset of iPad owners who care to subscribe. And apart from News Corp itself, it does not have the benefit of an established name to trade on.

And on Fox News, Clayton Morris lists five things that he wants from The Daily, and his wish list is very similar to the one I mentioned yesterday from TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld. He wants to be able to clip and share stories, and follow deep links out to other websites, And he also wants the magazine to include video segments produced specifically for the iPad, and to be an exhaustive news source for every news category. (After reading that list, much as I do agree in principle, in terms of likeliness of coming true I couldn’t help wondering if Morris would also like a pony.)

In any event, The Daily will soon be with us, and I look forward to taking a look and seeing how it reads for myself. I don’t know that it will be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it will at least be something new. And the per week price tag isn’t all that high, either.

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