News Corp. Launches 'Daily,' Gambles On Paid Readership

Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp. tycoon, has never been known for nursing modest ambitions. And while his gambits don't always succeed, his world-straddling media empire is testimony to a potent combination of calculation, intuition and a flair for publicity.



All three elements are operating in conjunction with the launch of  The Daily, a digital newspaper for Apple's iPad, available via an app costing $0.99 per week or $39.99 per year, with Apple receiving one-third of this. Murdoch is said to have invested $30 million in creating The Daily, which has a staff of 120, led by Jesse Angelo, formerly of the New York Post, with support from another ex-Post man, former "Page Six" gossip editor Richard Johnson.

With contributors who made their reputations at titles including Vanity Fair,Men's Health and Maxim, the digital newspaper features eye-catching graphics and a combination of local, national and international content, including general news, sports, entertainment and gossip, all tailored based on the user's location.

The first issue, unveiled at the Guggenheim in New York City on Tuesday, featured a cover story about the Egyptian revolution with the headline "Falling Pharaoh."

With its global distribution, The Daily represents a gambit not only to take the lead in digital publishing for mobile devices, but to use the transition to mobile readership to begin making consumers pay for digital content -- something of an uphill battle, following a decade in which most readers became used to getting newspaper content for free.

However, the business model includes some compromises: to raise awareness of the new publication, it will encourage readers to share some stories via social media like Twitter and Facebook, as well as via email.

While most of the content will be produced in-house by The Daily's own editorial staff, the publication may also draw on the established resources of Murdoch's far-ranging media holdings, including business information from The Wall Street Journal, and general news from the New York Post and Fox News.

In an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto, Murdoch said Apple boss Steve Jobs phoned him to praise the new publication after getting an advance view and expressed confidence that large numbers of consumers will pay for quality journalism. Murdoch predicted that in a few years there will be "well over 100 million tablets in America" and "over a billion around the world, adding, "I want to beat 'American Idol'."

By persuading consumers to pay for the product, Murdoch explained that "advertisers will respect it more" as well. He also said he hopes to renegotiate the terms of revenue sharing with Apple, so News Corp. gets to keep a larger share of the subscription price

Separately, The New York Times is developing a new digital iPad app, called, which will deliver a "social news" experience by presenting participating readers with the news being read by people they follow on Twitter. The paid app ranks the stories by the overall number of readers. The app displays full articles, some of which are licensed from other news organizations. For this reason, the app won't be free.


1 comment about "News Corp. Launches 'Daily,' Gambles On Paid Readership".
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  1. Jack Howard from FFRInvestments, February 8, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.

    Within the past few weeks two potential new media giants with deep pockets have come on the scene with significant digital news organizations and publications: 21st Century's and Rupert Murdoch's The Daily. Both look to be inherently superior to the liberal opinion-oriented Huffington Post which is being sold, probably into oblivion, to AOL.

    Murdoch's The Daily is available for a monthly fee and only on iPad tablets. Its news is generated by about 100 previously unemployed print journalists. 21st Century's is available to everyone free at and, as a member of the Associated Press, it has a significantly better and more extensive news offering generated by the thousands of AP reporters around the world. It is reputed to be adding a tablet edition similar to Murdoch's, but free.

    These two organizations are national in coverage unlike most digital news sites which are associated with major market print products. They are also mainline, particularly, with no ties to specific industries such as The Wall Street Journal.

    Both will probably survive and prosper in the years ahead. But since we live in a free enterprise world where better products with lower prices tend to be favored, is likely to end up as America's principal source of digital news while Murdoch throws away ever more money in an effort to keep up and the Huffington Post slowly withers away with AOL.

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