updated 09:40 am EDT, Fri August 13, 2010
Murdoch wants iPad national paper
News Corp.'s dedicated tablet group is focusing on a national newspaper just for mobile formats, connections said on Friday. The publication made known to the LA Times would be a parallel to mainstream papers like the New York Times but designed just for the iPad, other tablets, and smartphones. It would have "several dozen" writers and possibly go live by the end of the year.
The media giant hasn't confirmed any details on its own, but its CEO Rupert Murdoch has publicly advocated the iPad as the future of reading and was one of the first to have a newspaper formatted for tablets when Apple's hardware shipped. When discussing News Corp.'s fiscal results on August 4, he called the iPad a "game changer."
"We'll have young people reading newspapers," he said at the time.
The ability to reach a younger audience isn't certain, as many are more familiar with visiting sites on the free web rather than using apps. Cost has also been an issue. While the Wall Street Journal iPad app is targeted at professionals, its $4 weekly subscription rate actually makes it costly relative to the print version despite the lack of physical distribution. A more mainstream paper would likely dictate lower prices or more features to justify the cost.