Rupert Murdoch seems to have finally embraced the 21st Century. Where before he’d stuck all his newspapers’ content behind paywalls, now he’s launched an iPad-only publication, The Daily. It’s great to see a dinosaur in motion.
One problem: It’s crap. By all accounts the user interface is guilty of the worst sin an iPad app can commit: unresponsiveness. People are going to go “Wow, eye candy!” at first, then realise it’s actually a drag to use and drift away.
So what the hell is he doing? I mean, apart from keeping all their subscription money.
He knows that with News International’s backing, this is going to be the most talked-about iPad publication yet. He knows that just about everyone is going to say “but it’s crap.” He also knows that the uninitiated – which despite the iPad’s success is still the vast majority of people – will widely understand this as “newspapers on the iPad are crap.”
It’s a turd delivered in a pretty package, a deliberate spoiling tactic to damage the image of the new medium, and the people who will suffer are of course the actual pioneers. So he fends off the online threat to his empire for that little bit longer.