Friday, August 13, 2010

Murdoch's motive in creating a tablet newspaper; move is partly defensive in nature, a reaction to RSS readers

News that Rupert Murdoch is interested in creating a tablet newspaper might spur the more cynical to believe that this surely must be proof that the iPad is a bad idea. But no matter what you think of the media world's foremost news peddler, the fact remains that Murdoch doesn't want to see News Corp. left behind.

An iPad newspaper based on content from the New York Post is hardly an appealing prospect, but surely the Fox News crowd has every right to read the news on tablets as anyone else, right? Of course, Apple's Taliban inspired app approval team could put a crimp in Mr. Murdoch's plans -- it will be fun to follow the proceedings.

Coming to a tablet near you (if Apple approves, of course). →

No matter what the merits of Murdoch's enthusiasm for the iPad, there is no question that Murdoch, who is the world's foremost promoter of getting paid for content, sees the rise of RSS readers as a threat to his world view. (Concerning his enthusiasm for the iPad, Murdoch is quoted by The Guardian as saying "I think we're going to see, around the world, hundreds and hundreds of millions of these devices. . . We'll have young people reading newspapers.")

Probably nothing gets under the man's skin more than seeing paid apps that reformat RSS feeds with News Corp. content into attractive looking tablet publications.

According to the L.A. Times, the plan is to run the paper using NY Post resources under the leadership of Post managing editor Jesse Angelo with a staff of reporters and editors of several dozen -- maybe small by newspaper standards, but huge by New Media standards.

Compared to most media start-ups the price to enter the tablet publishing arena is incredibly small. The only advantage one can achieve then would be time. The first mover advantage achieved by the Times and some of the other publications that have launched apps has proved worth the effort. Despite many iPad users criticism of some of the early app efforts, very few brands have felt a downside to their early efforts, and a few have reported very encouraging results.

Additionally,  the New York Times has been very open about its desire to forward with its own new web and tablet projects, as well as their announcement that they will become a mobile media publishing solutions provider. This probably spurred Murdoch to disclose his own plans to investors last week.

Update: Blogger ate the headline! I think I finally have it fixed.