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Maybe you know Rupert Murdoch as the crotchety old man who shakes an angry fist at the free news model inherent on the Internet. Others know him simply as the CEO of News Corp. Google knows him as the guy who wants to make his sites' links invisible to search. Some of you are probably asking, "Robert who?" Apple iPad owners now know him as the man who brought the first news app designed from the ground up for their magical tablets.
It's called The Daily, and according to Mr. Murdoch, it was built completely from scratch for the iPad, which he describes as the most innovative device of his time. Rather than shun the current trend, Mr. Murdoch has chosen to embrace it, and with good reason: it's an ongoing business model, one that pays, as opposed to those free aggregating news sites that he finds so perturbing.
"The magic of great newspapers -- and great blogs -- lies in their serendipity and surprise, and the touch of a good editor," Mr. Murdoch said. "We're going to bring that magic to The Daily -- to inform people, to make them think, to help them engage in the great issues of the day. And as we continue to improve and evolve, we are going to use the best in new technology to push the boundaries of reporting."
And to push a new business model on the iPad. The Daily is the App Store's first subscription-based application. The cost is fairly reasonable at a penny shy of a buck a week (99 cents if you abacus is broken), or $39.99 for an annual subscription. Billing goes directly to the subscriber's iTunes account. In return, The Daily is to be published with up to 100 pages each day in the areas of news, sports, gossip and celebrity, opinion, arts and life, and apps and games.
So what's the verdict? Does the relatively low price for subscription news entice you to try it out, or are you sticking to your freebie guns?