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Murdoch’s Digital Daily finally launches

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is planning to launch The Daily, the media tycoon’s exclusive digital newspaper for the iPad, in New York on Wednesday.

News Corp. on Thursday invited reporters to a February 2 launch event at the Guggenheim Museum that will feature Murdoch along with Apple vice president of Internet services Eddy Cue.

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The debut of The Daily had originally been slated for mid-January, but was delayed reportedly to allow Apple more time to tweak its new subscription service for publications sold through its iTunes online store.

News Corp. has not revealed how much it will charge for The Daily, but iTunes is expected to automatically bill subscribers on a weekly or monthly basis with a new edition showing up on their iPad every morning. According to Gizmodo.com the app will cost just under US$1 weekly.

Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman and chief executive, and Apple head Steve Jobs were to personally take part in the cancelled January event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The Daily unveiling was shifted closer to News Corp. offices in New York after Jobs went on medical leave from Apple this month.

Murdoch has touted the iPad as the potential savior of the struggling newspaper industry.

News Corp. has been tight-lipped about the project but Murdoch acknowledged its existence for the first time in an interview in November, listing it as one of the “exciting projects” his media and entertainment company was working on.

Forbes magazine has put the total staff on the project at around 150 and said News Corp. has budgeted 30 million dollars for the first year of the launch.

The Daily would bring together three of Murdoch’s passions — newspapers, the iPad, and finding a way to charge readers for content online in an era of shrinking newspaper circulation and eroding print advertising revenue.

News Corp.’s 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. newspapers, recently erected pay walls around their websites.

In an interview in April with The Kalb Report, Murdoch called the iPad a “glimpse of the future.”

“There’s going to be tens of millions of these things sold all over the world,” he said. “It may be the saving of newspapers because you don’t have the costs of paper, ink, printing, trucks.

“It doesn’t destroy the traditional newspaper, it just comes in a different form,” he said. – AFP

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