Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily Finally Hits Newsstands (Or Rather, iPads)

After much anticipation, Rupert Murdoch’s latest media project, The Daily, finally held its launch event today in New York City.

Originally scheduled for January 19, the event was delayed due to the announcement that Steve Jobs was taking a medical leave of absence. The participation from the Apple CEO was important as The Daily is pegged as an iPad-only newspaper, and the new product demonstrates both the “future of the newspaper” as envisioned by Murdoch’s News Corp and “the future of subscriptions” as envisioned by Apple.

Rupert Murdoch unveiled The Daily today with a speech full of promise, arguing that new times call for new journalism. Murdoch argued that “the iPad demands we completely reimagine our craft.”

It’s about the craft, but it’s also about the bottom-line as newspaper and magazines have struggled – both on and offline. “We must make news editing and news gathering viable again,” said Murdoch.

The Daily: Price and Content

The Daily issues will be available to subscribers for 99 cents a week via iTunes, as part of a new subscription service that will give those users instant access to new issues – that is, your new issue arrives on your iPad “doorstep” without your having to connect to iTunes to update.

The Daily will contain over 100 pages of stories that cover the gamut of news, life, opinion, entertainment, sports, and the obligatory crossword puzzle. The content will blend text, video, and audio, with a small selection of the stories read aloud. While the content will update daily, there will be the opportunity for the service to update with breaking news as well.

Contrary to some of the early rumors about The Daily, the new publication is “not an island.” You’ll be able to share the stories – via Twitter, Facebook and email. But content won’t just be pushed out to the Web. The Dailiy will pull it in as well, with certain Twitter feeds providing content.

The Future of Newspapers or a Refresh of a “Legacy Brand”

Murdoch argued this morning that changes to online media demanded more than something a “legacy brand” could provide. To that end, News Corp has thrown a substantial amount of resources at the project, including a reported $30 million investment from Murdoch himself.

Some of those resources will go to pay for staff. In preparation for this new endeavor, The Daily has built a specific team, hiring some 100 journalists – some well-known names and some newcomers – who will write its original content.

Murdoch says the company’s cost are about “half a million dollars a week.” And with a subscription cost of 99 cents a week, you can do some preliminary math there to see the subscriber benchmark The Daily may be aiming for.

At 99 cents a week, The Daily will likely find a lot of new subscribers today. But it remains to be seen if its journalism and its user experience will keep readers coming back.

The app is set to become available in the iTunes store at 12 noon EST today. We’ll be giving it a test-drive. Will you?

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