The Daily: Not Much Bang for Murdoch’s Buck | Cult of Mac

The Daily: Not Much Bang for Murdoch’s Buck

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The Daily's tech bells and whistles can't save if from empty-calorie content.
The Daily's tech bells and whistles can't save it from empty-calorie content.

The Daily, the made-for-iPad product from Rupert Murdoch and News Corp., made a much-anticipated world debut Wednesday at the Guggenheim in New York. News Corp marketing promised “a package that’s smart, attractive and entertaining.”

Too bad it delivers an experience that’s pedestrian, plain and vaguely creepy. Not to mention prone to crashing.

The Daily’s main sections tell us something about what the editors think of their mission — or perhaps what they think of their intended audience — News, Gossip, Opinion, Arts & Life, Apps & Games, Sports. In that order.

Available now on the iTunes App Store, The Daily will be free for the first two weeks and 99¢ per week thereafter.

The app attempts to leverage many of the iPad’s capabilities, with support for location-aware functions (that don’t appear to work consistently), rich media (movies that play within pages of content; “carousel” display for section headings and story front pages) and the wide range of gesture navigation that makes Apple’s tablet a groundbreaking vehicle for content delivery.

Which is where The Daily is doomed to fall short. One user described it as “a souped-up NY Post that tracks your reading and surfing habits.”

Indeed some of the earliest credulity about The Daily popped up in the Twitter feed this morning, with more than one reader warning people to read the app’s Privacy Policy before proceeding to use it.

A colleague mentioned, “I felt a little creeped out when going through it, thinking to myself that every swipe and action is probably going to be logged and stored for advertisers and going to God Knows Where…”

As just the briefest bit of hands-on time makes abundantly clear, The Daily is less an innovative new vehicle for news (or gossip, sports, etc.) than it is a bright and shiny $30 million platform for digital advertising. Ads are rife throughout the content and actually take away from some of it with their eye-candy graphics.

In the end, The Daily is bound to suffer from its association with Murdoch and News Corp., which may have captured the attention (if not the imagination) of masses of American TV viewers with the FOX News Network, but is likely to have a harder time connecting with the audience of more well-heeled and well-educated consumers who own iPads.

It’s not as if people have a difficult time finding pictures of celebrities and sports stars nowadays.

Plus, crosswords and sudoku?