Murdoch launches iPad newspaper "The Daily'

TN News

Email Print

News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch on Wednesday launched "The Daily," a digital newspaper created for Apple's iPad, in the latest move in his drive to get consumers to pay for news online.

"New times demand new journalism," the 79-year-old News Corp. chairman and chief executive said as he took the wraps off the hotly awaited publication at a press event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Murdoch, an enthusiastic fan of the iPad, said there will be no print version of The Daily and it will only be available on Apple's touchscreen tablet computer for at least this year.

The Daily will be sold through Apple's App Store and iTunes and cost 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year. News Corp. will get 70 cents from each weekly subscription with Apple pocketing the rest.

Murdoch, who was joined on stage by Eddy Cue, vice president of Internet Services at iPad maker Apple, praised the iPad as an "incredible new platform" and said The Daily would provide a "fresh new voice."

The Daily would combine the latest technology with "shoe leather reporting, good editing and a skeptical eye," he said. "The Daily will be the model of how stories are told and consumed in this digital age."

Asked later by his Fox Business Network about The Daily's editorial stance, Murdoch said it will be a "very patriotic American newspaper that believes in free thinking and free markets and freedom for everybody."

He said he would consider it a success "when we sell millions."

"Our ambitions are very big, but our costs are very low," he said, adding that News Corp. had spent around $30 million developing the publication.

Without the need for news print, printing presses or trucks, Murdoch said operating costs for The Daily would run about half a million dollars a week.

He said the publication will eventually be available on other tablets.

"We expect to be on all major tablets. But we believe that this year and maybe next year really belong to Apple," he said.

In the Fox interview, Murdoch said "everybody in America who can afford one is going to buy a tablet" and "there will be well over a billion around the world" eventually.

The Daily, which has hired a staff of about 100 people from the New Yorker, Forbes, the New York Post and other publications, will arrive on a subscriber's iPad every morning and be updated during the day.

"This is not a once-a-day static product," editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo said. "We can drop in a new page any time."

The Daily's first edition featured a front page picture of a demonstrator in Egypt and the headline "Falling Pharaoh," an interview with former White House budget director Peter Orszag, his first since leaving the post, and a story on actress Natalie Portman's pregnancy.

The content is organized around news, sports, gossip and celebrity, opinion, arts and life, applications and games and features stories, graphics, video, photos and the ability to share links on Facebook and Twitter or by email.

The Daily was originally 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.

Murdoch said he spoke with Jobs last week and News Corp. released a statement by the Apple chief.

"News Corp. is redefining the news experience with The Daily," Jobs said. "We think it is terrific and iPad users are really going to embrace it."

The Daily is Murdoch's latest attempt to find a way to charge readers for content online in an era of shrinking newspaper circulation and eroding print advertising revenue.

The Wall Street Journal requires a subscription for full access to WSJ.com and Britain's The Times and The Sunday Times, two other News Corp. papers, recently erected pay walls around their websites.

Murdoch is not the only publisher looking to the iPad for revenue, and most major US newspapers and magazines have created paid or free versions of their publications for the iPad.

In November, British tycoon Richard Branson launched a monthly style and culture magazine solely for the iPad called "Project."

Dan Kennedy, an assistant professor of journalism at Boston's Northeastern University, said he sees The Daily as an experiment for Murdoch.

"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.

More Education/Youth News