Does pixel beat paper?

Earlier today (Feb 2 2011), Rupert Murdoch, of News Corp., launched The Daily—advertised as the first daily news publication built specifically for Apple’s iPad—hoping that people will pay for a general-interest digital publication. (See the image on the right—The Daily for iPad—Load Screen.) You can watch The Daily’s official launch event here.

As some members of the media pointed out, something similar happened three decades ago when USA Today made its debute. What do these two publications have in common? Here is a couple of suggestions: a. USA Today was a glitzy full color alternative to the average gray newspaper (in two words: novel & distinctive); b. USA Today featured shorter, easy-to-read-and-comprehend stories (in three words: full of emotion). USA Today since its debut has been one of top newspapers in the US by daily circulation, often second only to the Wall Street Journal.

So, why should you care about the launch of The Daily for iPad? Good question. Deng Xiaoping famously said that, “it doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white so long as it catches mice.” Said differently, in today’s world the property that causes the most conversation and/or engagement is truly the most relevant. And chances are in today’s world that it is usually the digital property of some kind that causes the most conversation and/or engagement. (I wrote about this in my post titled Is the Home Page dying a slow death?) Hence, today the question should be: What messages does your digital presence really send about your brand?