James Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of the European and Asian operations of News Corp., and son of the company CEO Rupert Murdoch, just confirmed that the digital newspaper ‘The Daily’ will finally launch within the next few weeks. When it launches, The Daily will be the first iPad-only newspaper ever published by a major news outlet – News Corp., the news giant behind the app, will only offer the publication in a digital form. While News Corp. was eager to release the app back in November 2010, its launch was eventually postponed due to iOS-related delays, as The Daily will be the first app to use the upcoming subscription feature allowing users to be automatically charged on a regular basis – a feature specific to the unreleased iOS 4.3. The imminent launch of the app also implies that iOS 4.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch could be released very soon, as the subscription feature used by the publication will require users to upgrade their device to the new version of the OS. The Daily’s subscription model could end up being a major game-changer for the struggling newspaper industry. Note that Apple COO Tim Cook is expected to be joining News Corps. CEO Rupert Murdoch onstage for the announcement. Here is an extract of the conversation with James Murdoch:
Q: When is The Daily going to launch? So first, The Daily is going to be a very exciting digital publication, which I think should be launching in the next few weeks, I hope. It’s going to be a brand new piece of journalism. We want to get out there quickly, at a good price, and I think it will surprise people. I also think it will succeed or fail on the journalism part, not the bells and whistles. Q: You already employ about 126 people on the journalistic side for The Daily, and the price will be 99 US cents. Is that sufficient? Well, we wanted it to have a very good price, affordable for most people, at 99 cents a week. It lowers the barrier for people to enjoy high quality journalism. We realize the pricing models for apps and paid journalism as a whole is still developing, whether it will be bundled or tiered, and so on. Q: Let’s move on to Apple, with whom you’ve been working together. Is it a good partner for you? We partner with them in a variety of areas, from iBooks to iTunes for our movie and TV shows business, so we have constant discussions about pricing and distribution methods. The interesting thing is that we create copyrighted content across the board, so we’re all learning our way through in different areas.