Rupert Murdoch, the head of the media giant News Corp, and Apple’s CEO Steve Job are preparing to unveil a new digital newspaper called the Daily at the end of this month, the UK’s Guardian reports.
The collaboration, which has been secretly under development in New York for several months, promises to be the world’s first “newspaper” designed exclusively for new tablet-style computers such as Apple’s iPad, with a launch planned for early next year.
The joint “iNewspaper” will have no “print edition” or “web edition”; the only way to get it will be to download ‘The Daily’ via Apple’s iPad application.
It’s expected to cost 99 cents a week, or about $4.25 a month. It will come out — as the name suggests — seven days a week. 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.
The U.S. elite fashion industry journal Women’s Wear Daily reports that the Murdoch’s new newspaper will be run from the 26th floor of the News Corp offices in New York, where 100 journalist have been already hired, including Pete Picton, an online editor from the Sun, as one of three managing editors.
The editor of the Daily has not been announced, but observers are assuming it will be Jesse Angelo, the managing editor of the New York Post and rising star in the News Corp firmament. He is a clear indication of how meaningful the project is to Murdoch.
Greg Clayman, a close friend of Angelo’s from their Harvard days in the late Nineties, left his digital gig at Viacom to lead the publishing side.
Richard Johnson left Page Six and will run a team of a few reporters to provide Hollywood and Los Angeles coverage. New Yorker critic Sasha Frere-Jones will run a culture section that will cover books, movies, TV, fashion, health and lifestyle.
There are three managing editors: Mike Nizza, a veteran of The New York Times, AOL News and The Atlantic; Steve Alperin, a producer at ABC News, and Pete Picton, an online editor at The Sun in the U.K.
Alperin’s TV experience gives a hint to a valuable part of the newsroom: In addition to journalists, there will be plenty of people producing videos. Also, there will be lots of design staff.
The 79-year-old Murdoch is said to have had the idea for the project after studying a survey that suggested readers spent more time immersed in their iPads than they did – comparatively speaking — on the internet, where unfocused surfing is typical.
Sources say Murdoch is committed to the project in part because he believes that the Daily, properly executed, will demonstrate that consumers are willing to pay for high- quality, original content online.
Murdoch believes the iPad is going to be a “game changer” and he has seen projections that there will be 40 million iPads in circulation by the end of 2011.
“He believes that within a few years, tablet devices will be like cell phones or laptops — consumers will go into Wal-Mart and buy the things at reasonably cheap prices (far more diminished than the $499 for an iPad now). In his mind, in the not-too-distant future, every member of the family will have one.”
But Murdoch’s success with internet ventures is mixed. The Times recently said it had gained more than 100,000 paying customers for its web edition, while the Wall Street Journal now has more than two million readers behind a partial paywall.
Apple has been expected to announce a subscription plan for newspapers based on the model of its iTunes music download service, but some publishers have been unwilling to let Apple in as an intermediary or let it control pricing the way iTunes has done in the music business.
“Obviously, Steve Jobs sees this as a significant revenue stream for Apple in the future,” Roger Fidler, head of digital publishing at the Donald W Reynolds Journalism Institute, told the San Jose Mercury News recently.
And with Apple expected to dominate the tablet market until compelling competitors are introduced, Murdoch may have no choice but to ride with Apple’s CEO.
The ambitious project is yet another Murdoch experiment to get people to pay for the news they read as newspapers transition to the digital era. And he already has at least one major fan.
According to Women’s Wear Daily, Jobs is “a major fan” of the newsprint patriarch: “When the project is announced, don’t be surprised if you see Steve Jobs onstage with Rupert Murdoch, welcoming the Daily to the app world.” [via Mashable, Women’s Wear Daily and The Guardian (UK)]