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AppleInsider and other outlets are reporting that News Corp. is planning on launching an electronic tablet-only "newspaper" called The Daily. It said the "paper" will cost $.99 a week. That got me wondering – who will pay for it?

It's not like there aren't plenty of free alternatives. Both the major local papers around here, the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, maintain free web sites (as do many of the smaller papers around here). Many other newspapers do too. I know some have content that's only available to paid subscribers, but if you're interested in breaking news, there's also CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Fox News, etc., that are all online for free.

In addition, the News and Free Press have subscription offers that let you view the paper, laid out just like the printed version, and they do have some articles there that you can't get at the free sites. But the free sites are constantly updated with news, just like the other news sites, while the online "paper" version is a static representation of the morning's print run. Why would I want to pay for old news when the fresh stuff is free?

I don't know yet if The Daily will be updating its articles during the day – but if not, then it seems to me that they're no different from the static printed page represented by the News/Free Press. If they do update, great, but then why would I not just got to, say, CNN, where the news is free and updated (or the free newspaper sites for that matter)? Any tablet The Daily will be available on will certainly be able to surf the web.

Maybe they'll be ad-free. I know some people are certainly amenable to paying to avoid ads. Or perhaps they'll have some great in-depth reporting that seems to be lacking in most online (and even many printed) newspapers these days. They'll need to do something to differentiate themselves.

What would it take to get you to shell out $.99 a week for a tablet-only newspaper (besides a free tablet<g>)? Or is it too late to try and establish a paid online general news service?


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One Response to Headline News

  1. Steven Klein says:

    I can imagine lots of things they could do to justify the price. For example, customizing the content to the likes of the reader. Google news offers this to some degree, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.