I only get it for the ads.
They’re shiny and interactive. Multi-page video. Some ads have a Download App button at the bottom of the screen. Where the advertiser has bothered, the ad format is compelling and it’s more accessible than a web page; less mediated, more touchable. If I were a media company I’d be pricing interactive advertising cheaply; better ads = better publications (if that’s the word).
News Corp’s iPad app, The Daily, is 99c a week/$40 a year. It seems to have remedied a number of the shortcomings of The Australian’s effort; in particular the ability to share articles. The Australian has intrusive old-style display ads. Tacky in comparison but at least it’s Australian tacky.
Editorially, The Daily is no great shakes. Very MOR; a bit like Time Magazine but slightly dumbed down and sexed-up. Articles are very short; it’s not a serious read. An 80 page A5 colour newspaper; I don’t think there’s any breakthrough thinking.
The Daily’s interface is very slick but I sense the newspapers are all struggling with the contest between looking like a serious print publication and working the medium to maximum advantage. Flipboard is an interesting app in this regard.
There’s progress in navigation. The shuffle feature is interesting though too slow. The Carousel is pretty but you get lost easily. My guess is that whoever gets the navigation right wins.
The Daily innovates in the game space but it’s limited. Why they don’t work the game thing is beyond me. Yeah, I know you do Sudoku and Crosswords. What else you got?
AppWatch? Yes, that’s relevant for all iPad users. And a Download It Now button at the foot of every review.
But the ads are the highlight.
In their present form I don’t think these apps are saviours of the newspaper business. When I take my iPad to a cafe it’s loaded with four or five different newspaper apps, some magazine subscriptions, two or three e-books I’m reading, I usually have an online game on the go, I have email, an RSS reader, I browse the web and I do all that social media crap (follow me on Twitter; @brettreasure). So my time spent reading the newspaper app is a fraction of the time I’d spend if I had a printed newspaper in front of me.
There are many competitors out there and lots of free news on the web. There’ll be colossal churn in the subscriptions. Nonetheless, The Daily is an improvement on The Australian and old media are taking the new medium seriously.