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News Corp. and Apple are to unveil The Daily next week, a digital newspaper for the iPad, the tablet computer Rupert Murdoch hopes may emerge as the saviour of the struggling news industry.
A source familiar with News Corp.’s plans said The Daily, which has been the object of months of top secret development at News Corp., will be introduced at an event in San Francisco on January 19.
According to News Corp.-owned Dow Jones, Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman and chief executive, and Apple head Steve Jobs are to personally take part in the event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Dow Jones also said Murdoch showed The Daily to select attendees at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
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.
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.
Whether Murdoch plans to charge readers a subscription fee for The Daily is not yet known but the News Corp. chief has made making consumers pay for news online his personal crusade.
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. – AFP