There’s a rumor going around suggesting that Rupert Murdoch (News Corp) and Steve Jobs (Apple) are working together to launch a new tablet-only newspaper… without the paper. The Daily would be available exclusively on the iPad at launch, and possibly on other tablet style computers in the future. The publication would not have print or web editions, meaning the format would be designed exclusively for tablet displays.
I like that idea. What I’m wondering though, is whether the business model makes a lot of sense. News Corp reportedly plans to charge $0.99 per week for subscriptions. While $0.99 is clearly the sweet spot for apps, with millions of users paying that much for Angry Birds and other games, are people ready to pay that much every week to read the news?
On the one hand, that’s a bargain by old school newspaper standards, as it should be since there are virtually no printing or distribution costs involved.
On the other hand, there’s so much news available for free using other apps (or a web browser), that I have to wonder whether people are willing to pay for access. The fact that articles in The Daily won’t be available anywhere else will definitely help make the case for paying up — but only if the publication can produce insights or news items that you won’t find anywhere else for free.
Of course, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are already behind paywalls to varying degrees, so it’s possible that the era of free, ad-supported news online might be coming to an end, in which case users might not have much alternative but to pay up for subscriptions… or resort to other types of media for their news.
What do you think? Would you pay $0.99 per week for The Daily? What if your current favorite started charging a buck a week?