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Rupert Murdoch To Launch All-Digital National Newspaper; Doomed To Fail

>Some days you hear a story that sounds great … until you dig into it a bit deeper and then you realize it is so incredibly doomed for disaster that you want to run and find the person behind them and smack some sense into them.

The idea is a simple one on the surface.  Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp, wants to launch an all-digital, national newspaper.  It would be delivered strictly to mobile devices such as the iPad and cell phones, and the news will be tailored to those types of devices and the people who primarily use them: Younger folks.  The stories will be “short and snappy” according to The Los Angeles Times, and although the new division will be officed inside The New York Post offices, and be overseen by managing editor, Jesse Angelo.  The new division will be considered its own entity despite all this, and will have its own reporters, staff and bullpen, but will be allowed to pull news from any other News Corp-owned source.

ipad newspaperSounds good so far, right?  I mean, we all know that reading news on devices such as the iPad are a pleasure for the most part, and news tailored to the type of people who use such gadgets sounds great.  Of course, we also know there will be a subscription fee for something like this, Mr. Murdoch does nothing for free, but it’ll probably be a livable amount.

Then you get to one little bit of info from The Los Angeles Times that makes your blood run cold.

If green-lit, News Corp. could invest anywhere from $30 to $40 million in the venture, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Um … I’m sorry, did they just say $30 to $40 million dollars?  Why, yes they did.

Are the toilet seats in the office bathroom going to be made of solid gold?  Will diamonds be handed out daily to all staff?  For the life of me I cannot fathom how they think it will cost that much to launch this.  Pay some staff, build some apps, write stories … done.  You aren’t renting out new office space, you might give Mr. Angelo a raise for pulling double duty, and I still can’t get over $5 million in my head to launch this, and even at that I think I’m being generous.

How in the world will they ever recoup this investment?  That is why I’m calling this already doomed to failure.  At the end of the day the accountants will look at the balance sheet, and really no matter how many subscribers they get, they will still be seeing red.  I simply don’t get it.

Caviar snack time each day?

What say you?  Does this new news outlet interest you at all?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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