Daily Marauder


THE FUTURE OF NEWS: FLIPBOARD VS. THE DAILY by Marauder

THE FUTURE OF NEWS: FLIPBOARD VS. THE DAILY

Taking a stance on Flipboard vs. The Daily, two iPad applications which supply news content to their audiences, highlights the friction between old media and new and distinguishes the ways two companies are bringing information to users. Flipboard is a social magazine launched in July 2010 by Mike McCue and Evan Doll touted by Apple as iPad App of the Year and one of TIME’s top 50 innovations of 2010. The Daily launched in February 2011 by News Corp., designed to be the first iPad-only newspaper.

 

To fully discuss the future of news, I’ve brought together a group of folks with different perspectives for the weigh-in. Below are the three main contributors. Along with these, there are several other powerful perspectives weaved in along the way.

 

Ashmi Dang: Digital Marketing Consultant specializing in entertainment

Caroline Giegerich: Editor of Daily Marauder, Master of whimsy

David Hayes: Digital marketer in theatrical at a studio and curator of finely wrought bytes at Stilllifewithinternet.com

 

The Secret Sauce

Flipboard

 

“Flipboard is the “platformifiication” of publishing, open to anyone who wants to publish through it. The breadth of content available trumps the quality of individual pieces of content, with the experience being different for everyone that uses it. The Daily is “magazines as medium”, and is a literal interpretation of what the future of magazines can be – a multi-dimensional interpretation of a formerly two-dimensional edited, curated document.” Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus

 

A:

Flipboard allows me to be the secret sauce by giving me control over what I read. My usage is mostly concentrated on my Twitter feeds. Pulling them into Flipboard offers me a way of stepping out of the live steam to do some social listening, as well as responding and ultimately boosting my Influence Score by having dialogue with what I’ve read. An application that simplifies the process of doing all that, through a visually pleasing and unique UI, helps feed my social-networking-news-consuming-junkie needs.

 

For a newspaper, the biggest draw is the editorial content. The challenge for The Daily is convincing consumers that their version of the news is worth paying for. Right now, there are five categories, one being Sports which I don’t read. Of the remaining four, I’m already able to find most through my existing news channels, and others that are of importance to me are simply not covered. The value proposition and product differentiation don’t exist in terms of my needs with The Daily.

 

C:

In the days of the newspaper, the news editor was king, culling together a meticulously curated product from the ranks of the professional journalist. In the new era of social media, the control of content has shifted from ‘professional’ to everyone. Twitter, on the short form, and blogs on the long form have empowered the masses to become an army of content creators. Flipboard simply aggregates this new army of content creators to create a new breed of broadsheet. If my broadsheet could speak to me, what would she say? Well, she would most likely say something different minute by minute as the news developed. Flipboard fulfills this promise creating a lean back experience of news that has been curated by both the reader and their amalgamation of friends and contacts.

 

The Daily, on the other hand, is a traditional newspaper that has been re-packaged simply for an iPad product. One issue is delivered and served with the sections you’ve come to expect from a traditional newspaper. No personalization. No curation of the masses. This difference evokes the glaring friction traditional media has been battling with for so long: ceding control. Content creators no longer require journalism school or fancy degrees. Recognizing this is the secret sauce of Flipboard. Ignoring it is the Achilles Heel of The Daily.

 

D:

While The Daily is attempting to recreate the experience of reading a newspaper for lean back devices, Flipboard’s aim feels more ambitious: Create a “personalized social magazine.”

 

Quality as News Source

 

A:

Flipboard is a platform driven by my work in curating the best content for me and also offers some pretty great optional channels of aggregated content. Ultimately, I’m in charge and it comes down to my willingness to ensure that I’m reading quality information.

 

With The Daily, Caroline McCarthy, of CNET.com/CBS, made an excellent point while moderating a Social Media Week panel in NYC, “For The Daily to really establish itself as a long lasting fixture, its going to have to start breaking news and getting that exclusive Steve Jobs interview that Time would otherwise be getting.” Its uniqueness in this area is most critical to its success and right now, it’s just not there for me.

 

C:

Here Flipboard could potentially fall flat much like Twitter. If not carefully managed, a Twitter feed can become a garbage can of ridiculous comments. Flipboard allows the user to pick the inputs from Flavorpill to the NY Times. If a user selects only entertainment outlets, the experience will be limited to that information removing the possibility that the budding protests in the Middle East will make their way through. In this way, Flipboard’s ability to present information is only as good as the human programming it.

 

On the flip, The Daily is collected and published in one edition and experienced as such by all users.   Flipboard is Pandora. If you decide at some point that you no longer like the blues, some energy is required to remix. The Daily is radio. I worked in radio. We DJ’s lie to you all the time about playing requests. Doesn’t happen.

 

D:

The Daily is a better way to get the day’s news for the target customer, the type of person who walks by his front door and misses that familiar stroll onto the lawn to pick up the morning paper. The Daily is a newspaper dressed up to look like a spaceship but a newspaper nonetheless.

 

Flipboard is not a very good way to get the day’s news. Why? Flipboard is the single-most pleasurable experience I’ve encountered on a touch-screen device for…browsing, but it is not a very good app for scanning. Flipboard is both an extremely pleasurable and tiresome experience. It’s a “fifteen minute app,” both in fame and in the maximum amount of time I can stand using it.

 

Business Model

Flipboard: free. The Daily: $.99 per issue of $39.99 per year

 

A:

Being free, Flipboard is contributing to their future success. Adoption and usage provide data necessary to understand what’s working and what’s not. Once they figure this out, they have the opportunity to stake a claim in what becomes the norm furthering investment and continued growth. I’d personally like to see an algorithm that pushes the most discussed topics in my feed’s front and center.

 

As a subscription-based service, The Daily is going to have to significantly set itself apart from its free competitors. More than ever, we are curating our own news. At a Social Media Week panel, Adam Ostrow, Editor-in-Chief of Mashable said, “News Corp has been one of the few companies that’s been successful at charging for content through the Wall Street Journal, and while I think its a bit of a different audience obviously, people will pay for information that moves markets.”

 

C:

In typical Murdoch fashion, the price is immediate even before the quality of the content has been proved out. This is called ego and the central differentiating feature again between old media and the start-up community. Start-ups focus on the user experience almost with little to no focus on how they will prove out revenue-positive results. Traditional media focuses on how to glean immediate profits before asking consumers if they like the experience. There must be some middle ground here.

 

D:

If Murdoch succeeds, he’ll have proven that people willpay for the news, even if that news is so bland that it appears to have been generated by content bots. People will pay for information online and that content doesn’t have to be Wikileaks caliber. This is because many people don’t pay for the information itself, but the experience of consuming the information. (i.e. USA Today) For a very specific, very large and very deep-pocketed user base, the experience of reading a newspaper in some version of the old way is worth paying for.

 

Flipboard has gone the free route and faces that long road of gaining enough users to sell ads against eyeballs. I would have charged for Flipboard. It’s the exact type of novelty I’d pay for just as I paid for FLUD and Pulse. At its core, Flipboard isn’t a magazine. It’s a feed reader, an aggregator, be they social (Facebook), Flipboard-endorsed (FlipTech) or self-curated content. This is no different from Pulse, FLUD, Feedly, Google Reader, etc. Is Flipboard one of the more unique aggregators? Certainly. Can you make real money at aggregation? Ask Google News or Tumblr. It’s tough. Content creators will give you their feeds for free but the second you try to make money off them? Watch out.

 

 

Traditional Media vs. New Media

“I’ll bet on ‘produced’ content any day. Right now, everybody aggregates the news, but few are producing. This is where The Daily stands out. It’s early, everybody is learning, but Murdoch took the right approach…conceived from the users point of view, not trying to squeeze a newspaper onto a 9 inch screen.” Rishi Malhotra, Managing Partner 212MEDIA, a NYC-based media incubator.

 

A:

Flipboard’s approach is acknowledging consumer’s changing behaviors with the widespread adoption of both the iPad and social networking. The Daily has delivered an electronic newspaper in a medium that begs for innovation. Advantage, Flipboard. It is looking toward the future, not reinventing the past.

 

C:

Flipboard represents a revolutionary way to consume news. The simplicity of the thinking is this: extend the aggregation of news outside professional editors and customize that curation by user. The end links could be the same. For example, my friend may post a link to WSJ which would be curated through Flipboard. Same as reading the WSJ? No. In this case, the WSJ was hand-selected by my friend for some reason, elevating its status like a highlighter elevates text. No one wants to think his or her job is not specialized. Flipboard makes us all editors which empowers us all. The Daily continues with the control traditional media clings to. Control the message. Control the power. Too bad the power already ceded to the community a long time ago. Democracy isn’t just for Egypt any more kids. The news is now ours to create. Move over Wolf Blitzer…

 

D:

From its old school subscription model to its print style ads to its broad sheet page layout, The Daily is 100% about making its users feel comfortable performing an activity that doesn’t really exist in the modern world: Reading – not scanning – yesterday’s news. This is precisely why Big Media wins in this case. They get their customer’s true needs and wants and are positioning themselves for a specific group of people with a high willingness to pay. That group just might be those 76MM Baby Boomers approaching retirement and ready to unwrap their next iPad.

 

The startup loses. Flipboard will basically appeal to the exact type of person who understands that it would be ridiculous to pay for yesterday’s news because they read yesterday’s news yesterday in real-time, as it happened. This is the same type of person who has enough feeds to demand a feed reader and needs that reader to be built for scanning and not browsing.

 

 

 

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1 Comment so far
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This almost makes me want to buy an ipad just so I can get Flipboard.

Comment by Justin




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