Apple's iPad will host a tablet-only newspaper created by News Corp starting Feb. 2, according to an invitation circulating among media.
That digital publication, the Daily, will cost 99 cents per week. According to Reuters, the original Jan. 19 unveiling date was scrubbed "because of technical glitches." News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and Apple Vice President of Internet Services Eddy Cue will headline the new launch event, scheduled to take place in New York City.
The Daily is not exactly a top-secret project. In a Nov. 9 interview with The Australian Financial Review, Murdoch revealed details of the publication: "It will only be seen on tablets. It will only employ journalists-and maybe eight to 10 technicians."
Murdoch also suggested the Daily will need a circulation of 800,000 readers to become economically viable-an achievable number, he thought, given the proliferation of iPads among consumers and businesses. "By the end of the next year there will be 30-40 million iPads," he said. "I believe every single person will eventually have one, even children."
E-reader and tablet makers have worked to make periodicals a vital part of their ecosystem. Barnes & Noble markets its Android-powered Nook Color as an ideal way to read image-intensive magazines such as Rolling Stone, and Amazon.com boasts relationships with newspapers such as The New York Times. Unlike e-books and their single purchase price, periodicals offer the thoroughly enticing prospect of recurring revenue, as subscribers sign up and then become too lazy to cancel.
Joking aside, iPad users are apparently turning to their devices as a channel for daily news, according to a recent survey by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri.
Around 84.4 percent of the survey's 1,600 participants said they used their iPad to follow breaking news and current events, a shade behind the 89.2 percent who said they relied on their PC for the same purpose. Some 70 percent said they used their iPhone as a news source.
"These findings are encouraging for newspaper publishers who plan to begin charging for subscriptions on their iPad app editions early next year," Roger Fidler, the Institute's program director for digital public and research project leader, wrote in a Dec. 9 statement, "but our survey also found a potential downside: iPad news apps may diminish newspaper print subscriptions in 2011."
Should the Daily prove successful, it could open the door to other publications attempting their own iPad-only model.