Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 18:52 UTC
In the News News Corp. has just announced its iPad-only newspaper The Daily will be closed down. What do you know, a platform-specific publication fails in the internet era. I totally did not see this coming at all. Times are changing, people. Platform-specific is so 2007.
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Re:
by kurkosdr on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 19:05 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

What do you know, a platform-specific publication fails in the internet era. I totally did not see this coming at all. Times are changing, people. Platform-specific is so 2007.


My thoughts exactly. What they were essentially saying to Android users is "I don't want your money".

However, a major factor contributing to the fail was also the fact the newspaper was your usual Rupert Murdoch rag...

Edited 2012-12-03 19:06 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Re:
by dsmogor on Wed 5th Dec 2012 06:32 UTC in reply to "Re:"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Yea iPad users and tabloid consumers are two sets quite weak in intersection.

Reply Score: 2

Almost completely wrong
by jared_wilkes on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 19:37 UTC
jared_wilkes
Member since:
2011-04-25

It's been on Android for a while now, and the failure is certainly not due to it being iOS-only (if it were, but it's not).

http://learn.thedaily.com/android/

Edited 2012-12-03 19:38 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Almost completely wrong
by WorknMan on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 19:47 UTC in reply to "Almost completely wrong"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

According to that link, it was only on the Galaxy Tab. Not exactly the same thing ;)

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Almost completely wrong
by jared_wilkes on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Almost completely wrong"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Android fragmentation doesn't negate the fact that they've been trying to support Android for a year, or that an initial focus on iOS isn't responsible for their demise, or that Thom was wrong.

Reply Score: 0

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

One device, and only through Verizon.

So yeah, this thing was iPad-only.

Reply Score: 4

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

There are plenty of iPad (and/or iOS)-only apps (that are succeeding by the way!) that they don't need your assistance by nonsensically redefining "iPad-only" as "Android support is fragmentary, limited, and secondary." That's just inflating the numbers by an order of magnitude!

Edited 2012-12-03 20:19 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Almost completely wrong
by Laurence on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 21:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Almost completely wrong"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

There are plenty of iPad (and/or iOS)-only apps (that are succeeding by the way!) that they don't need your assistance by nonsensically redefining "iPad-only" as "Android support is fragmentary, limited, and secondary." That's just inflating the numbers by an order of magnitude!


Platform specific applications only succeed if they're the very best in that field. However news publications is a preference, not something where one product is "better" than another (though the more learned of us would probably disagree with that last statement, but my point is people often chose a news source based on preference rather than benchmarkable criteria like graphics or included features).

So when there are numerous free online news sites - all of which /are/ cross platform (such is the nature of the web), these guys were painting themselves into a corner by effectively only supporting iOS.

Edited 2012-12-03 21:36 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Almost completely wrong
by zima on Thu 6th Dec 2012 17:45 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Almost completely wrong"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

my point is people often chose a news source based on preference rather than benchmarkable criteria like graphics or included features)

I'd say most people choose apps similarly... (especially considering that the biggest mobile category are apparently quick & casual games)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Almost completely wrong
by mrstep on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 22:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Almost completely wrong"
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

Haha... That's like laughing at a buggy-whip maker for only supporting one maker of carriage and claiming that's why they failed.

1) Look at the challenges facing other "open" news sites on the web if you want to see what a challenge papers are facing in terms of monetization. They can't decide if they should be free with ads, behind a wall, or what.

2) As everyone mentions, this is a Murdoch rag. I took a look at it when it came out - the writing and general content was terrible, and given the particular direction they were taking that was unlikely to change.

3) The iPad angle is irrelevant in a news industry that's trying to find its way - unless you have an example of a newspaper for Android that has just monetized like a beast? (Not to mention they have an Android version as mentioned elsewhere.)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Almost completely wrong
by Laurence on Tue 4th Dec 2012 01:19 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Almost completely wrong"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Haha... That's like laughing at a buggy-whip maker for only supporting one maker of carriage and claiming that's why they failed.

That would be a pretty dumb move and would almost certainly contribute to them failing when other buggy-whip makers are producing the same quality (or better) whips that work on all carriages.


1) Look at the challenges facing other "open" news sites on the web if you want to see what a challenge papers are facing in terms of monetization. They can't decide if they should be free with ads, behind a wall, or what.

If anything, that just proves that there's room for other business models so that means that The Daily failed because of some other business decision; likely the fact that only a fraction of people connected to the net had access to the paper.


2) As everyone mentions, this is a Murdoch rag. I took a look at it when it came out - the writing and general content was terrible, and given the particular direction they were taking that was unlikely to change.

Sadly most people don't give a rats arse about the quality of the reporting.

The Daily Mail is famously one of the worst papers factually and The Sun is one of the worst papers for reporting quality. Yet both are two of the most successful publications in Britain (in fact, The Daily Mail is fast becoming -if not already- one of the most popular online publications too).


3) The iPad angle is irrelevant in a news industry that's trying to find its way - unless you have an example of a newspaper for Android that has just monetized like a beast? (Not to mention they have an Android version as mentioned elsewhere.)

Only targeting Android would equally be stupid. Thom's comment about the iPad wasn't a dig at the iPad (so you Apple fanboys can stop chucking your toys out the pram). He was simply saying that these days people have such a range of platforms (and not just in terms of the OS running on tablets, but in terms of computing paradigms too; be that netbooks, laptops, desktops, smart phones, games consoles, smart TVs and so on), thus targeting one niche within a niche is automatically restricting your audience. And it doesn't take a business genius to tell you that the key to a successful product is targeting the widest demographic you can.

In short, if you intentionally restrict the numbers of users; then you have to expect only a small number of adopters. It's genuinely that simple.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Almost completely wrong
by bouhko on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 21:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Almost completely wrong"
bouhko Member since:
2010-06-24

You're misrepresenting things by interpreting "available on Galaxy Tab 10.1 using Verizon Wireless" as android fragmentation. It's like blaming Apple if an app is available only for the 3G version of iPad 2 with 32 GB flash. It's an arbitrary, plain stupid restriction.

Now, if the app was available only for Android A.B with a minimum resolution of X by Y, this would be a fragmentation issue, but this isn't.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Almost completely wrong
by WorknMan on Tue 4th Dec 2012 03:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Almost completely wrong"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Back in January of this year, what are the numerous Android 10" tablets that The Daily should have been made for?


There were a couple of Asus Transformer tablets, and at least one or two from Acer as well, along with the Motorola Xoom. I don't know what other ones were out at the time. What I do know is that the Transformer Prime was the 'flagship' tablet when it was first released.

Based on the text of the link, it says the paper was available through 'select tablets on Verizon wireless', which leads me to believe that it wouldn't have worked on a wifi-only Galaxy Tab. That sounds like somebody struck a deal, rather than some sort of technically-based fragmentation issue.

BTW: I'm not saying that it failed because it wasn't widely available on Android, and probably would've flopped even if it were.

Reply Score: 4

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

The fact is: the vast majority of Android apps that target tablets largely only support a small number of devices because they're the only ones being sold in any number


Ooooh, a fact? Okay then, name one (waiting....).

Also, I post a clear refutation of Thom's claim from nearly a year ago


No, it's clear that - like most iFanboys - you were just determined to flog that "Android fragmentation" dead horse, relevancy be damned. So you cherry-picked a single minor detail, found a single exception to fixate on, and now you're trying to pretend that you've won some kind of significant victory.

If that weren't pathetic enough, you're also trying to pretend that fragmentation due to technical issues is the same thing as "fragmentation" due to exclusivity agreements. That's on par with trying to criticize Microsoft for the fact that Final Cut "Pro" doesn't run on Windows.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Almost completely wrong
by leos on Tue 4th Dec 2012 04:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Almost completely wrong"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

It's like blaming Apple if an app is available only for the 3G version of iPad 2 with 32 GB flash.


Funny though, that has never happened, but Android apps specifically limit support to individual devices all the time. I guess Android developers are just "stupid and arbitrary" and it has nothing at all to do with fragmentation, right?

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Almost completely wrong
by Laurence on Tue 4th Dec 2012 11:21 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Almost completely wrong"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"It's like blaming Apple if an app is available only for the 3G version of iPad 2 with 32 GB flash.


Funny though, that has never happened, but Android apps specifically limit support to individual devices all the time. I guess Android developers are just "stupid and arbitrary" and it has nothing at all to do with fragmentation, right?
"

It usually happens because of licensing deals (eg different Android partners competing for individuality by obtaining exclusivity for x, y and z).

As someone who's written a few Android apps in the past, I can tell you that the "fragmentation" isn't half as big of an issue as many make out. Or at least not on the standard paradigms (phones and tablets). AFAIK none of my apps have ever ran on the more abstract of Android-powered devices.

You see, Android's SDK was written to take such things into account (unlike how iOS, which couldn't cope with even the basics like differing aspect ratios). So while it does take a little more time refining an Android app for multiple platforms, it's still possible and done so daily by the vast majority of Android developers.

In fact I still use one of my Android 2.2 apps daily on a host of tablets and phones running Android 4.0. I'd long since lost the source code and never bothered to rewrite it as it still runs so well.

However please don't assume I'm trying to gloat about how everything is perfect; I'm not saying there isn't fragmentation on Android, but I think many haters love to exaggerate the problem (much like how Apple haters loved to exaggerate the issues of the iPhone 5 carbon casing getting scratched or the left-handed reception issues on the iPhone 4).

tl;dr: 99% of Android developers manage just fine. The examples you're thinking of are largely where licensing deals are struck as different Android partners compete for individuality.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Almost completely wrong
by shmerl on Tue 4th Dec 2012 06:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Almost completely wrong"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

they've been trying to support Android for a year

I really don't get the point of "supporting a platform" for publishing purposes altogether. Isn't there such thing as PDF (Portable Document Format). That's it - platform issues solved. Sometimes people really jump over their heads to create imaginary problems for themselves.

Edited 2012-12-04 06:18 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Almost completely wrong
by Laurence on Tue 4th Dec 2012 12:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Almost completely wrong"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

they've been trying to support Android for a year

I really don't get the point of "supporting a platform" for publishing purposes altogether. Isn't there such thing as PDF (Portable Document Format). That's it - platform issues solved. Sometimes people really jump over their heads to create imaginary problems for themselves.


The "portable" in PDF doesn't mean "portable" in the context you're describing.

PDF used to be a closed format (and even now, it's still proprietary). The point of PDFs wasn't that they could be read by any device. The point was a document format that would retain it's exact formatting when migrated from platform to platform (which used to be a major problem for the press industry). Thus PDFs would embed fonts and do other such tricks which, back then, were less common. It meant that rendered documents would be as "portable" as a printed page with it's formatting retained (which was the point; so that mastered documents could be shared).

This is also why PDFs are typically considered read only (they're not, you can get editors, but the point of PDFs was they're the finalised product so were not designed to be edited) and why PDFs aren't always great for accessibility (eg text doesn't wrap when zooming, like in HTML).

"Portable" in the context you're using would better served with open specifications, which I know PDF technically is these days, but the accessibility features alone makes HTML a better fit.

In fact, HTML may have many sins these days with people building entire "web apps" and such like. But the primary goal of HTML was an open document mark up for distributing text-based content; which is precisely the specification for a newspaper. So despite HTML's many faults, I genuinely cannot think of a better format to encode such publications.

Edited 2012-12-04 13:00 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Almost completely wrong
by shmerl on Tue 4th Dec 2012 16:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Almost completely wrong"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

When publishers distribute their books / magazines / newspapers, they are usually in read-only format anyway, unless it's some really unusual interactive publication or something. So PDF is a good fit.

PDF is not proprietary for a while already:

While Adobe Systems made the PDF specification available free of charge in 1993, PDF remained a proprietary format, controlled by Adobe, until it was officially released as an open standard on July 1, 2008, and published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 32000-1:2008. In 2008, Adobe published a Public Patent License to ISO 32000-1 granting royalty-free rights for all patents owned by Adobe that are necessary to make, use, sell and distribute PDF compliant implementations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format


There are other good formats for publishing - DjVu for example and etc. The point was that they are not tied to one particular system.

Edited 2012-12-04 16:39 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Almost completely wrong
by Laurence on Tue 4th Dec 2012 17:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Almost completely wrong"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

When publishers distribute their books / magazines / newspapers, they are usually in read-only format anyway, unless it's some really unusual interactive publication or something. So PDF is a good fit.

As I'd already said, PDF is /NOT/ a read only format. In fact I'd argue that HTML is typically more a read only format as it's generally distributed in temporary files served behind read-only HTTP protocols.

However that wouldn't be ideal for books and possibly even magazines as the end user would likely want a permanent version of those publications, unlike with papers which are subject to change daily (sometimes even more frequently). But even in the case of books, PDF isn't be best fit for accessibility reasons (again, as I'd already pointed out).

Take the Kindle, for example. It supports dynamic text sizes (much like how some web browsers do). Trying to mimic the same thing with PDFs wouldn't work because you'd end up having to scroll /and/ page turn (such is the nature of zooming static pages) which is clearly a usability faux pas.

Now I'm not saying HTML is the only solution here, but when the user doesn't care about keeping permanent issues (as is the case is online newspapers) and a publisher wants to retain ownership and allow users to control their own browsing accessibility, then it makes more sense to have a format that marks up in a similar way to HTML and using a similar distribution model to HTTP, even if that format isn't HTML/HTTP specifically.

However I still think HTML makes a lot of sense for such publications; they have hyperlinks that give readers a chance to follow related articles or read more in depth about specific issues regarding the main article. HTML supports embedded videos and audio. And HTML offers readers a chance to comment back (personally I think it's an over-rated feature, but then here I am doing just that). Any competing format for digital newspapers (and bare in mind we are just talking newspapers here; not books nor "ezines") would have to /at least/ support those features if it wants to compete with the plethora of free news sites online. Simply offering a traditional newspaper in a digital format isn't enough; not even if the digital format is presented with pretty "retina-friendly" fonts.

Edited 2012-12-04 17:25 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[7]: Almost completely wrong
by shmerl on Tue 4th Dec 2012 18:08 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Almost completely wrong"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

By Kindle do you mean something like ePUB? That's a decent format as well. Kindle's own formats are proprietary, which I don't like (as well as you as I understood above). PDF while not being ideal at least is not proprietary anymore.

HTML is all fine for daily papers - I agree. If by retaining control you mean paid only access. If the format involves some kind of DRM - that's already bad and such publishers don't interest me.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Almost completely wrong
by zima on Sat 8th Dec 2012 11:36 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Almost completely wrong"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

HTML makes a lot of sense for such publications; they have hyperlinks that give readers a chance to follow related articles or read more in depth about specific issues regarding the main article. HTML supports embedded videos and audio. And HTML offers readers a chance to comment back (personally I think it's an over-rated feature, but then here I am doing just that)

Ahh, the the dreadful Wiki Effect, and getting involved in largely pointless comments...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Almost completely wrong
by zima on Sat 8th Dec 2012 11:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Almost completely wrong"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

But the primary goal of HTML was an open document mark up for distributing text-based content; which is precisely the specification for a newspaper.

I believe at the beginning HTML was used for implementing a CERN phone directory, for the benefit of physicists? ;p
Still, phonebook has similar specification.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Almost completely wrong
by Yoko_T on Wed 5th Dec 2012 10:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Almost completely wrong"
Yoko_T Member since:
2011-08-18

Android fragmentation doesn't negate the fact that they've been trying to support Android for a year, or that an initial focus on iOS isn't responsible for their demise, or that Thom was wrong.


Actually, ios apps are designed for morons, just as this "Newspaper" clearly demonstrated.

No wonder it didn't much apeal to non-morons.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Almost completely wrong
by smashIt on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 19:50 UTC in reply to "Almost completely wrong"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

and the failure is certainly not due to it being iOS-only (if it were, but it's not).


no, but it seems 40$/year for some Rupert Murdoch garbage was reason enough

Reply Score: 4

it certainly is not a platform issue
by phti on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 19:48 UTC
phti
Member since:
2012-06-02

it's that The Daily really sucked.

Reply Score: 5

bowkota Member since:
2011-10-12

it's that The Daily really sucked.

Reply Score: 4

Business Model
by ferrels on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 23:45 UTC
ferrels
Member since:
2006-08-15

An analogy of the Daily's business model is a major news network such as CNN restricting its video news broadcasting to one brand of TV set.

Rhetoric on....

Did no one at the Daily think about that before implementation?

Rhetoric off...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Business Model
by jared_wilkes on Tue 4th Dec 2012 03:43 UTC in reply to "Business Model"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Did you think about the lack of in-app Android subscription billing (at the time) and the complete and utter failure of large Android tablets (through most of The Daily's history)?

That's a rhetorical question too.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Business Model
by ferrels on Wed 5th Dec 2012 17:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Business Model"
ferrels Member since:
2006-08-15

Wait, so now you're going to blame the Daily's demise on Android when their target audience was iPad users? That's ridiculous. That makes as much sense as CNN blaming bad ratings on Vizio or Toshiba due to poor consumer sales on TV sets for Christmas. Get a clue.

Reply Score: 2

dragos.pop
Member since:
2010-01-08

I don't understand the need to create an app for a newspaper. Newspapers sell content. They should define their needs and partner with others that provide the platform (iTunes, Google Play, Pulse... )

Creating your app and content for magazines is like each music artist having it's own app to listen music. Makes no sense.

Reply Score: 3

Yehppael Member since:
2012-08-01

It did make sense because they had more news sources, their app would have been basically an aggregator.

Right now, I have on my tablet, Pulse with lots of sources, including Quartz which I found to have an abnormally high common sense.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Creating your app and content for magazines is like each music artist having it's own app to listen music. Makes no sense.

That's what many (most?) of apps in mobile appstores are, glorified single-webpage RSS readers, radio stations, e-books.

Reply Score: 2

RSS and app like Google Currents
by henderson101 on Tue 4th Dec 2012 09:40 UTC
henderson101
Member since:
2006-05-30

RSS and apps like Google Currents have removed any need for a newspaper. Couple that with the fact that as a commuter to London every day I get a free news paper in the morning and evening if I choose to read them (Metro in the morning, Evening Standard in the, er, evening) and that the Metro is a free iOS Newsstand app too (and the full paper content is published), well... why do I need to pay for another US centric news source? The reason the Daily failed was purely the economics of being a geek, nothing to do with the platforms (which, despite Thom's excited platform waving, *is* the most popular Tablet OS in the UK.)

Reply Score: 4

No surprise
by wocowboy on Tue 4th Dec 2012 10:59 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

The fact that the "paper" was HORRIBLE had nothing to do with its shutdown I suppose. Oh well.

Reply Score: 1

The Daily - a pioneer of sorts
by AnalogOnce on Tue 4th Dec 2012 13:49 UTC
AnalogOnce
Member since:
2012-12-04

I was an early subscriber to the Daily, a publication that proved to be redundant in the end. When it was launched, it promised content designed to show off the then unique format and multimedia capabilities of the iPad. It did that very well, but after a short time, it proved to be clumsy and slow.

An comment made earlier, said that it wasn't well written, perhaps now that is the case, but for the first six months, when I subscribed, it was in fact well written and sharp.

The iPad and other tablet devices offers a great many options for content, much of it free, so why limit yourself.

Reply Score: 2