News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch was yesterday to unveil “The Daily,” a digital newspaper for the iPad, the tablet computer the media tycoon has said may be the savior of the struggling news industry.
Murdoch, the 79-year-old chairman and chief executive of News Corp, and Eddy Cue, vice president of Internet Services at iPad maker Apple, are to take the wraps off “The Daily” at an event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
“The Daily” had originally been scheduled to be unveiled in San Francisco last month, but the event was delayed at the last minute by Apple’s announcement that chief executive Steve Jobs was going on medical leave.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp, “The Daily” will cost US$0.99 a week and will be sold exclusively through Apple’s -online iTunes store.
New issues will be automatically delivered to a subscriber’s iPad every morning.
The Journal said News Corp has hired about 100 people to work on “The Daily,” including veteran journalists from The New Yorker, Forbes, the New York Post and other publications.
News Corp has budgeted US$30 million for the first year of the launch, according to Forbes.
“AllThingsD.com,” a News Corp-owned technology blog, said “The Daily” will feature news articles, interactive graphics, videos and photos tailored to take advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen capabilities.
There will be a free site for “The Daily” on the Web at thedaily.com but it will feature only a small selection of material from the newspaper, it said.
“AllThingsD” said “The Daily” will be offered free for the first two weeks.
“The Daily” brings together three of Murdoch’s passions — newspapers, the iPad and finding a way to charge readers for content online in an era of shrinking newspaper circulation and eroding print advertising revenue.
In an interview in April with The Kalb Report, Murdoch called the iPad a “glimpse of the future.”
“There’s going to be tens of millions of these things sold all over the world,” the News Corp chief executive said. “It may be the saving of newspapers because you don’t have the costs of paper, ink, printing, trucks.”
“It doesn’t destroy the traditional newspaper, it just comes in a different form,” Murdoch said.
A digital newspaper for subscribers is Murdoch’s latest move in his drive to get consumers to start paying for news on the Web after years of getting it for free.
The Wall Street Journal requires a subscription for full access to WSJ.com and Britain’s Times and Sunday Times, two other News Corp newspapers, recently erected pay walls around their Web sites.
Murdoch is not the only publisher looking to the iPad to increase revenue.
A number of US publications have crafted paid applications for the hot-selling Apple device including Esquire, Glamour, GQ, the New Yorker, People, Vanity Fair and Wired.
In November, British tycoon Richard Branson launched a monthly style and culture magazine for the iPad called “Project.”
Dan Kennedy, an assistant professor of journalism at Boston’s Northeastern University, said he did not have terribly high expectations for “The Daily.”
“It’s difficult for me to picture it being anything much more than a very modest success, almost a test lab more than anything else,” he said.
At the same time, “it sounds like they’ve hired some good people,” Kennedy said. “It sounds like it’s going to be cheap enough that a lot of people will give it a try.”
“It might reinvigorate the idea that the iPad specifically, and tablet computers in general, can be a really nice platform for publishing what we used to call a newspaper,” he said.
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