MEDIA MOGUL Rupert Murdoch's anti-free, anti-Internet but Apple loving news service, The Daily, launched today with a party hosted by the man himself,
The Daily, which has the backing of Apple and Steve Jobs, is a paywall happy newspaper application that is set to revolutionise the way that we consume news, at least in the Murdoch mindset, and its launch has been highly anticipated, at least by anyone with a few quid lying around spare, a vapid Ipad, and a desire to sign up for a monthly subscription.
During the initial drafting of this story the Daily had not launched yet, and The INQUIRER was watching a countdown on its webpage. This was accompanied by a soundtrack of toodley, world musac 'hits', but not, as we had anticipated, Murdoch singing My Way, which perhaps would have been the most suitable musical accompaniment.
The very idea of The Daily, and the paywalls that Murdoch has put on the Times and Sunday Times newspapers, have not been met with particular enthusiasm from people used to getting news for free, despite the British newspapers' websites having been redesigned.
Murdoch has remained committed to them though, and has been vocal about how Apple, which after all has condescended to let him show his page 3 tits in its family friendly App Store, has provided him with the device he needs to make people pay for his news, the Ipad.
Today is the first time that people will get to view the fruits of Murdoch's and Jobs' shared passions.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs was not in attendance, so Murdoch had to make do with fluttering his eyelashes at Apple VP for Internet services Eddy Cue at the party.
Since we are not there we can only speculate on what this modern marvel might include. The most brave of us suggested that it would include news that is found elsewhere, while others begrudgingly added that it might have some exclusive content... at least until someone else reads it and repeats it on the Internet, for free.
When Murdoch took the stage he thanked the absent Jobs for "single handedly changing the world of technology and video", naturally, and said that his Ipad tablet demanded that journalists "completely reimagine our craft", something that Fox News journalists could be accused of doing every day.
The Daily will cost 14 cents a day, or 99 cents a week, and according to Murdoch is firmly aimed at American consumers. He added that it will offer 360 degree photographs and HD video, the latter interesting given the lack of HD video viewing capability on the Ipad.
Murdoch has decided to put a firm line between anyone that works for him and everyone else. This means that the quality of news that The Daily consumers will get will be better than you see anywhere else, and will come from what he called "new journalism".
Today, for example, The Daily is covering some breaking news in Egypt, but we will have to wait until that spreads further before telling you more. However, in a Freudian slip its editor did say that it would be telling its readers what they think about something. Which if anything, sounds true to the Fox News cause.
The Ipad layout of The Daily does not look particularly revolutionary, and in fact apes many features you would find on an Ipod Touch. For example, a Carousel feature lets you flip through pages before choosing one, much like you can with albums on your music player, while an actual Shuffle button, which brings up random features on The Daily, shows just how valuable individual news items have become.
Other features include embedding video in news stories, and the ability to touch news, which normal people can't do. Unless, perhaps, they live with Jeremy Paxman.
Murdoch said that The Daily was low cost to build, only some $30 million, and will not cost much to run on a weekly basis at less than half a million dollars. This means, he explained, that the success of The Daily should not be measured by the money is generates.
The Q&A session was enlightening and included at least one probing question, about News of the World phone hacking claims, that was batted away. Other interesting questions included enquiries about how people could see back issues of The Daily, and what Ipad Apps Murdoch likes, other than The Daily of course. µ