News Corp's much awaited tablet-only paper, specifically crafted for Apple's iPad is due to be launched on Feb. 2 at a price of 99 cents per week.
Reuters reported that the digital publication called 'The Daily' will be unveiled by Newcorp's chairman Rupert Murdoch and Apple Vice President of Internet Services Eddy Cue. The earlier launch date of Jan. 19 was postponed due to technical issues. The digital paper will be initially available in US only.
Reports of the project have been circulating since Murdoch stated in an interview with Australian Financial Review: I'm starting a paper in six weeks. A brand new paper. It will be like the New York Post. But it will be national. He had also said that It will only be seen on tablets. It will only employ 10 journalists - and maybe eight to 10 technicians.
Murdoch had also given a break-even number of 800,000 readers at which the digital newspaper will become economically viable. He had also stated that the editor will be Jesse Angelo, deputy editor of the Washington Post.
The newspaper publishing industry is in a quandary regarding its subscription-based revenue model. It ceded control of the model when it made its content available for free online. Since then the industry has been struggling to wean customers of the free online news feed.
The onslaught of smartphones and tablets as a new medium of delivery has offered some hope to the erstwhile industry. In Murdoch's estimation, by the end of next year there will be 30 to 40 million iPads. I believe every single person will eventually have one, even children.
Currently, the newspaper industry has targeted the medium by developing apps for the tablets. Thus major newspapers like New York Times, WSJ and Washington Post offer apps for Apple devices. As apps are directly purchased from the store and payment made upfront there is immediate monetization, a model which has eluded online newspapers.
The NYTimes iPad app which has been free until now is due to migrate to a subscription model in the first half of 2011. The application allows users to download content for offline reading. Also when the tablet is not connected to a WiFi the app uses the cellular network service provider's connection to download content which would mean extra charges for the user.
Computerworld reported that the tablet-only newspaper developed by Newscorp will be directly delivered to a subscriber's iPad daily. Thus users do not have to wait for an app to stream content thus making offline reading cost effective.
The launch of the digital newspaper will be closely watched by the industry, as News Corp has initiated a minimalistic approach to tablet newspaper - with only 10 journalists. For an industry which is looking for a lucrative model to tap on, the challenge is to create an ecosystem of apps and devices around their content, as differentiation is now rooted in content delivery than content creation.