Lots of Twitter buzz this weekend over an apparent deal between Steve Jobs, whose Apple products are the obsession with blue staters everywhere, and the Prince of Cable Darkness, Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox “News” dominates the cable news ratings, and the nightmares of liberals. Could it be true? Turns out, the answer is “aye…”
And it also turns out it’s not new. First, the new bit, from Gizmodo, which also scores the graphic of the day:
Rupert Murdoch thinks that the iPad is the beginning of the future of media. Steve Jobs agrees. That’s why—according to WWD’s sources—News Corp. is releasing an iPad-only newspaper called The Daily. Created with Apple’s help, says the Guardian:
According to reports, there will be no “print edition” or “web edition”; the central innovation, developed with assistance from Apple engineers, will be to dispatch the publication automatically to an iPad or any of the growing number of similar devices.
Also per Gizmodo:
Murdoch’s minions have been working on this tablet-only newspaper for a long time, putting one of his stars at the helm of the new venture: Jesse Angelo, the managing editor of the New York Post. Angelo has been handpicking top editors and writers to create The Daily which, according to sources close to the project, will be a “tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence.”
The new product would operate on a subscription model, similar to iTunes. But the real news is where Murdoch is getting his editors, which signals just what slant the “news” content of the new product might be:
With a staff of more than 100 and a cast of editors from the New York Post, the Atlantic, the Sun, ABC News and the New Yorker, it’s set to go live in early 2011 according to WWD and within the next 10 days according to the Guardian.
And by the way, it’s not just die-hard Apple fans of the liberal persuasion who are not persuaded that this isn’t entirely evil:
“There’s something all wrong with this,” says Michael Wolff, editorial director of the Adweek group and author of The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch.
“Murdoch has no feel for, knowledge of, or interest in technology, and has staffed his new effort to deal with it with a lot of like-minded newsroom technophobes,” says Wolff, who for the record is no fan of Steve Jobs either.
“What’s more, there’s no evidence Rupert even knows how to make a newspaper that will appeal to Americans — he either makes working-class tabloid papers, a form that died in the U.S. in the 1960s, or a kind of bland utility sheet (i.e., the Times in the UK, which arguably the Wall Street Journal is on its way to becoming) that makes Gannett look sexy.
“Also, Jobs and Murdoch have long held a predictable antipathy toward each other,” he adds. “Jobs’ entire life and oeuvre is contrary to the Murdoch view and style. Murdoch, in my presence, has described Jobs as a ‘loon.’
Loon or no loon, this isn’t the first time Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch have orbited the earth together. This summer, this story quietly scampered across the blogosphere without making barely a squeak:
News from industry insiders show Apple in an increasingly isolated place with its plan, with Disney (on which Apple CEO Steve Jobs sits on the board) ready to roll withh 99-cent show rentals. All the other networks aren’t convinced at the plans, leaving just one global multimedia firm in position as kingmaker for the iTunes initiative.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dealing with overtures by mighty media magnate, Rupert Murdoch, in whose hands the fate of the plan could sit.
“For several weeks Hollywood has been wrangling over Apple’s push to offer rentals of TV show episodes for 99 cents. Many in the entertainment industry fear that the low price could break the economic model that supports the high cost of producing TV shows,” Chicago Tribune explains.
NBC Universal, CBS and Time Warner are opposing Apple’s 99-cent TV show rental plan. Walt Disney is saying yes leaving News Corp. in pivotal position.
Internally at the Murdoch-owned company execs are divided, the report says citing insider sources. Broadcast pros are concerned the deals could eat into DVD sales and a la carte downloads.
Total sales of digital TV program downloads, of which Apple accounts for roughly two-thirds, will reach $395 million this year, according to Screen Digest.
Murdoch however is prepared to join in Apple’s six month price trial because he hopes to parlay his assent into other positive moves for other arms of his media empire, specicially newspapers on iPads.
Murdoch believes the iPad will be the saviour of print media. …
At issue was whether download sales would ultimately kill DVDs (they will) and whether joining with Apple/iTunes would simply accelerate the death of discs. It seems that as early as this summer, Murdoch was thinking ahead, and joining forces with the “loon.”
As one smart Twitterer put it: Apple’s fans will soon discover that Apple is not a “liberal” company, Apple is a corporation. And in corporate parlance, today’s devil is tomorrow’s business partner.
Also in tech: is Facebook wrecking the web?