Yesterday News Corp announced the shuttering of The Daily, their major iPad-only newspaper venture. For me personally, The Daily was emblematic of the soft mania I felt spread through the magazine and newspaper industries immediately following the launch of the iPad. It’s a period we’re still working our way out of, one that I’ve come to think of as the Era of Tablet Myopia—or, alternatively, the Era of the Print Artifact Tablet App and Business Model and Staffing Structure.
The fundamental contradiction at the heart of The Daily was that it was trying to be a large-scale, mass market newspaper (big staff, ambitious reach) while only pursuing one delivery channel. Even at the outset, many noted the financials simply did not (and still do not) add up to a return anywhere near the level required to support an operation of that size and nature.
All this merits a thorough postmortem, but for now I’ll just use the opportunity to flog something I and many others have been pointing out for some time: if you want to be a modern, mass market digital publication, you absolutely, positively must be multi-platform. That means the answer to, “What platform should we be on?” is, “All of the above.” Getting there is the tricky part.