updated 04:40 pm EST, Fri November 26, 2010
Rumor has News Corp iPad daily delayed to 2011
The News Corp tablet publication The Daily may not arrive until early next year, sources alleged Friday afternoon. They rebuffed the rumors of a mid-December launch and said it was "more likely" to reach into 2011. What triggered the delay wasn't clear in the Financial Times slip, but Apple supposedly hadn't yet agreed to allow recurring subscriptions.
The claim if true would partly contradict talk of an iOS 4.3 update due around the same time that would add iTunes subscription support.
No matter the disagreements, plans for the Daily were described as a very close collaboration between Apple and News Corp. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has reportedly approved the design of the Daily himself and helped steer News Corp head Rupert Murdoch away from Project Alesia, which would have merged news from different sources rather than have its own news outlet. The decision favored Apple as it would discourage supporting competitors, but it was also reportedly convenient since other publishers weren't willing to sign onboard.
The publication is still expected to cost 99 cents per week and would be updated three times per day. Its tone has been characterized as between tabloid-style papers like the New York Post and broadsheets like the UK's Daily Mail. About 100 to 150 employees would be involved, headed up by former Post managing editor Jesse Angelo, and much of the content will involve video and other non-traditional content.
Murdoch is now known to be even more interested in the project than previously thought. He was not only interested but was spending more on developing iPad apps "than anybody else in the world," one of the sources suggested. Publicly, Murdoch has made clear his view that tablets could save news media by convincing customers to pay for news they would otherwise get for free on the web. The form factor both gets closer to a traditional publication but also encourages hands-on interaction that doesn't exist on the web.
It may face a significant challenge. The Daily is believed to need about 800,000 subscriptions to meet its target, which may be feasible but hasn't yet been seen for a tablet publication. Murdoch has had some success with web-based paywalls like those for the Times of London and Wall Street Journal, but they also don't require a separate device to work. Still, the CEO is believed to have faith that Apple's status could be enough to reverse years of declines in traditional newspapers.
"[News Corp] is getting into bed completely with Apple," a tipster said.