News Corp. is reportedly considering working on some new app-based news product that would be separate from any of its existing print or web publications. An experiment in the future of news? Perhaps. A game changer? We'll see. CNBC seems to think it might be.
Given how few details are known about this alleged product, let's not get ahead of ourselves. There have been a lot of so called "game changers" in the news industry recently, and I'm not sure how much the game has actually changed as a result of them. Julia Boorstin reports:
Sources close to the company tell me that the company is considering creating a new purely digital news play that would be designed for the app world and would be available through subscription on devices like the iPad.
This new digital news venture would incorporate text, photo and video, tailored for the iTunes app format ... neither a newspaper nor a news website — it would not be based on any of News Corp's existing papers.
There are some new and interesting products surfacing. There's no question about that, but without widespread adoption, how much of a game changer can any one product truly be? Google? That was a game changer. Blogging platforms? Yep. Facebook? Absolutely. Twitter? Yes. It even caused changes in Facebook (and search engines with realtime search).
This new project from News Corp. will have text, photo, and video elements though. Sounds like a game changer!
Again, based on the small amount of details, it's hard to form a real opinion on this, but is app-exclusive content the answer? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it'll be in the content itself. If the content is exclusive, and unique enough from what's on the web, an app like this could succeed. But apart from that, I really don't see how this would be much different than offering a print publication with exclusive-to-issue content, other than the fact that less people will have access to it, though it might be able to build on this initial, ongoing novelty that comes with a new generation of tablet devices. Remember, you can still access the web from these too.
There is a lot of excitement around the iPad and similar forthcoming products right now, especially from the news industry. However, it still remains to be seen if these tablets can truly "change the game" in terms of news. People are still overwhelmingly going to choose free content over paid.