News Corp launches iPad newspaper at 14 cents/day

By Reuters
Posted Feb. 2 at 3:05 p.m.

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, among the most ardent defenders of the traditional press, launched the first ever newspaper created solely for tablet devices like the iPad.

Murdoch, along with Apple executive Eddy Cue, introduced the Daily during a Wednesday event at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.

The Daily, a general news product available to iPad users in the United States that covers everything from national politics to sports, will cost 14 cents a day, 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year. It will be billed directly to a user’s iTunes account. The first two weeks will be free courtesy of Verizon Communications.

News Corp is making a big bet that starting a newspaper from scratch that is dedicated to tablet devices could help revive the news industry, which is beset by declining readership and advertising revenue. Just three years ago, Murdoch spent close to $6 billion buying Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

To date, Murdoch said, the company had spent around $30 million developing the Daily. He said it would cost less than $500,000 a week to run before revenue from advertisers and subscriptions. He added that he would measure his success by “selling millions” of subscriptions.

“Our ambitions are very big, but our costs are very low.”

The Daily is being closely watched in media circles for signs that consumers will pay for online news.

“It helps us answer the big question of 2011,” said Ken Doctor, an analyst with Outsell Research. “Can you charge for (online) general news?”

At 99 cents per week, News Corp needs to sell around 250,000 annual subscriptions to break even, Doctor estimated. “That’s a lot,” he said.

Editor Jesse Angelo said the Daily will be published every morning with stories told through text, photos and HD video and would have its own voice.

News Corp’s chief digital officer, Jon Miller, said the Daily will be competing for attention with a range of news, games and other media services.

“You’re competing with Angry Birds on some level,” Miller said, referring to the wildly successful iPhone-based video game.

The Daily marks Apple’s inauguration of a subscription platform in the iTunes store for apps.

For a year, Apple and magazine and newspaper publishers have been in talks about selling subscriptions through the iTunes store and have not made progress.

Apple’s Cue said his company will soon make an announcement on subscription services for other publishers.

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One comment:

  1. James Rouillard Feb. 3 at 2:50 a.m.

    How much will the ipad cost?