News Corporation is pushing back the launch of the world’s first iPad-only newspaper.
The company declined to comment on why. But a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorisation to disclose details, said on Friday News Corp and iPad maker Apple Inc have decided to delay the launch while they work on the technology involved in providing subscriptions.
This person said the delay will be weeks and not months. The postponement comes in a week that News Corp. announced plans to slash jobs at its MySpace unit by half as the social networking site rapidly loses market share to Facebook.
A formal announcement about the new publication, called The Daily, had been slated for Wednesday. News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and Apple chief executive Steve Jobs were scheduled to attend a launch event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The delay was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp.
The company has staffed bureaus around the country to provide material for the new publication. It will cover general news, culture and entertainment and will include video.
Since it went on sale last year, the iPad has kindled new hopes for professional journalism in the digital age. Traditional publishers are betting the iPad and its imitators can help provide new sources of advertising and subscription revenue.
And many of them need it. The economics of news on the broader web have been brutal for print publishers. Space for web advertising typically sells at just a fraction of what it does in print, and few publications have successfully charged readers for online access to stories.
News Corp has revealed few details about The Daily. It has not said, for instance, what it will charge readers, if anything. But the company has been at the forefront of efforts to get subscription fees for digital content. The Wall Street Journal’s website has required a paid subscription for 14 years and the newspaper charges for its iPad app.