Murdoch's newspaper has no paper; It's all Tablet

Rupert Murdoch unveils the iPad 'newspaper'

By Ed Pilkington & Dominic Rushe/Guardian

Since the day he bought his first newspaper aged 22, Rupert Murdoch
has shaken up the world's press, revolutionised television and
transformed the way politics is discussed from Australia and Britain

to America. But one that so far eluded him -digital publishing- gets the Midas touch now.

With a huge roll of the dice, Murdoch has sought to put a seal on his
reputation as a visionary media tycoon by launching the Daily, a news
operation created from scratch and designed specifically for the iPad.
Much is riding on it, not just Murdoch's personal legacy in the
twilight of his career, but, in his own description, the future of how
people produce and consume journalism.

Looking rather stiff in the leg, but showing no reduction in the scale
of his ambitions, Murdoch took to the stage of a theatre in New York's
Guggenheim museum to unveil the venture, with Apple, the iPad's
creator, lending a supporting hand.

The Daily, he said, would herald a new journalism for new times. It
would combine the "serendipity and surprise" of newspapers with the
speed and versatility of new technology; it would make news-gathering
"viable again". It was his offering for what he called the digital
renaissance. "Simply put, the iPad demands that we completely
reimagine our craft."

Part of that reimagining, he said, was that with the Daily there would
be "no paper, no multimillion-dollar presses, no trucks". That in
turn, gave its editors the licence to experiment and innovate.

For now, the Daily will only be available for US iPad owners. News
Corporation says that international markets will come online in the
near future, but has no specific schedule.

Murdoch's record on digital publishing has so far been underwhelming,
marked by the failure of the social networking site Myspace, and
observers are keen to see whether the Daily will fare any better. Some
have written it off as dead on arrival, thanks to its fusion of old
and new media. It will be fully digital, but published every night in
time for the subscriber to read over morning coffee. "Wonderful!
Slower news – and at a higher price," wrote Scott Rosenberg of Salon
before the launch.

As ever, Murdoch has dismissed the naysayers with a flick of his ample
cheque book. He has sunk $30m into developing the Daily and said it
would cost $26m a year to cover its costs, including those of 100
staff. He is targeting the 50 million people expected to own an iPad
by the end of next year. Analysts project that he can cover costs if
2% of them could be persuaded to subscribe to the Daily at 99 cents a
week – no mean task, considering that there are already 9,000 other
news apps for the iPad on the market. "It will all come down to
content," said Alan Mutter, blogger and former editor of the Chicago
Daily News. "He's going to have to make something very compelling to
get people to pay."

The first edition of the Daily had a conventional news front on Egypt
under the headline "Falling Pharaoh". It also showcased several
digital bells and whistles, including photographs that can be scanned
through 360 degrees, a "carousel" of stories that can be spun with a
finger, and stories that you can listen to like a radio.

How would he measure success, Murdoch was asked. "When we are selling
millions," he replied.

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