As far back as last year, when Apple's iPad was nothing but an unconfirmed rumor, there have been reports that the computer giant was talking with media conglomerates about developing content exclusively for the device. But so far, the top-selling tablet computer has only featured applications that optimize media presentations on its 10-inch screen.
Now there are reports that the first iPad-specific newspaper, The Daily, may be produced by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for the iPad's seven million (and counting) users. The start-up would have no print edition or web site, nor links to or from web sites.
Product of Sleepless Night
The Daily would reportedly have an initial staff of 100 with three veteran managing editors. It would be available on the iPad for 99 cents a week or $4.25 monthly, according to Women's Wear Daily.
The publication said Murdoch had a vision of the iPad newspaper during a sleepless night in May and proceeded to invest $30 million and staff the new venture. At that time, the newly launched iPad was clearly a hit, but the extent of its popularity had yet to unfold. Apple now says more than seven million iPads were sold through September.
WWD said Jesse Angelo, a former New York Post official and top Murdoch confidant, is closely involved in the project and in line to be editor. Also reportedly hired as managing editors are Mike Nizza, formerly of AOL, The Atlantic, and The New York Times; Pete Picton, the former online editor of The Sun; and former ABC News producer Steve Alperin. Also on board are Richard Johnson, the Post's top celebrity-news reporter and New Yorker magazine music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, according to WWD. The Daily would be mostly original content with some video from Fox Sports.
Looking for Net Gains
News Corp. has struggled to find ways to reverse the trend of free news content on the Internet and recently started charging users for access to articles on The Times of London and The Sunday Times. Most newspapers have found that approach futile.
When New York Newsday, which is owned by Cablevision, began that approach, it only gained 35 customers who weren't subscribers to the paper or Cablevision, according to reports. The New York Times said News Corp. only received about 100,000 payments for stories in the first four months of paid content, including those from existing subscribers.
On the other hand, Wired magazine in June launched an edition for iPad and other tablet users that sold more than 100,000 copies via Apple's iTunes Store, more than its usual newsstand sales, although that figure has since trailed off.
"[That] should give some indication of how well received [The Daily] idea will be," said Jeff Orr, an analyst with ABI Research.