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Can apple make newspapers cool?

January 11, 2011

SundayTimes

Next Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch and Steve Jobs will announce the launch of the iPad newspaper, “The Daily”.

It’s a venture that the Australian, Murdoch has already reported to have sunk $30 million into, at a time when the future of newspapers is being questioned and even the magazine publishers, who were so enthusiastic about the potential of the iPad are having second thoughts.

Murdoch is a maverick and he’s forced his marquee UK newspaper brand, “The Times” to go behind a pay wall and not give anything for free. The consequence of that move is that marketing is now playing a critical role in selling the newspaper.

This is something that newspapers have neglected for years and as a result, the perceived value of journalism has declined. However, if you spend any time on website of “The Times” you will quickly find yourself watching videos that do a great job of explaining why the subscription is worth the money. Murdoch has got his journalists to “sing for their supper” by extolling the virtues of the digital world and suggesting a more intimate relationship with their readership.

In essence, Murdoch is selling both “The Times” brand and the team of individuals behind it.

Of course, the suggestion is that you become part of an exclusive club and this obviously leads to opportunities to sell books, vacations, wine, etc.

We have to assume that Murdoch’s going to take some of the learning from his UK experience to the new “Daily”, but to make a newspaper really compelling to a US audience, he’s going to need some of Apple’s sparkle.

Jobs can certainly do a great job up on stage of pretending to be excited about the content, but Murdoch’s going need some slick advertising to do the heavy lifting.

Simple outdoor boards from Apple showing readers browsing “The Daily’ on their iPads isn’t going to be enough. He’s going to need a PR blitz, great TV ads and lots of video assets that sell the quality and caliber of the content and his team of journalists.

In short, he needs Apple’s marketing team.

We wait with baited breath.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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