yARN: The Daily; The Dinosaur?

Astonishingly, you can't get it in Australia

There’s been plenty of coverage around Rupert Murdoch’s venture into the new digital age with The Daily, an iPad-exclusive newspaper.

Developed with Apple’s assistance, The Daily is said to bring some top-notch journalistic talent together with the kind of interactivity only the iPad can provide. At $US0.99 the theory goes that for quality news and features, that’s pretty reasonable.

With such heavyweights behind it, The Daily is an interesting concept. I say concept because, as far as the Australian Apple App store is concerned, it doesn’t exist.

That’s correct. This bold step into a digital frontier shared by people all over the world is currently exclusive to American iPad owners, and therefore (quite ironically) more difficult to obtain for the rest of the world than a paper copy of The New York Times, the Guardian, or any other print newspaper.

Murdoch has said that The Daily will be rolled out to other regions in the future – no firm dates set yet – but by then any hype behind the newspaper will have long disappeared.

Given I can already access (and pay for) the excellent reporting of The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Economist, and any number of other quality news and events publications on the iPad, the only thing The Daily really had going for it was the novelty that it was the first to be built from ground-up for the iPad.

By the time of its Australian launch, it’s going to be just another App, and while it may well stand on its own two feet, Murdoch will have missed the free ride on the hype train.

The decision to restrict who can and can’t access The Daily is a decidedly old-school media concept. If the Internet hasn’t completely proven that people want information immediately, and tend to get annoyed when they can’t access that information, then the iPad is reinforcing it.

I do think people would be willing to pay $US0.99 a week for a top-quality, interactive news App. The worry for me now is The Daily is a dinosaur, nothing more than an attempt to ram antiquated media theory into 2011. With that philosophy backing it, it’s bound for failure.