Murdoch’s iPad newspaper, THE DAILY, debuts today

News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch introduced a news publication tailored specifically for Apple Inc.’s iPad, a bid to expand his media empire with a new business model for delivering content digitally.

Called the Daily, the publication will cost 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year, the companies said at a news conference in New York today. Apple unveiled a subscription payment system for the Daily and said it will soon be available for other publishers.

Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman and chief executive officer, is betting the popularity of Apple’s iPad will draw subscribers and advertisers to the digital publication run by Jesse Angelo, the former managing editor of the News Corp.-owned New York Post. The Daily will feature general news, sports, arts and opinion sections, along with high-definition video and 360-degree photos.

The iPad demands that we completely reimagine our craft,” Murdoch said at the event. “I’m convinced that in the tablet era there’s room for a fresh and robust new voice…”

Murdoch developed the Daily after Apple demonstrated there’s a market for tablets, which blend the functionality of a touch-screen smartphone with a notebook computer. He said News Corp. has spent $30 million to get the publication off the ground and that it will cost about $500,000 a week to operate.

The editorial position of the publication will be “in the hands of the editor,” Murdoch said.

Angelo said the target demographic is everybody. “In terms of our editorial page, at the highest level, we are patriotic,” he said. “As for specific issues, read the editorial page every day…”

Cue said a subscription system for other publishers will be announced “very soon.” With the Daily, users can pay the 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year through an iTunes account.

You can try the online paper for these first couple of weeks for free – via a subsidy from Verizon. An advertising troll awaits. In any case, the app is free.

I’ll be trying it if for no other reason than a chance to examine the tech smarts, how well the subscription model works for me. The politics will be – I imagine – stultifying at best. But, that’s me. I do agree with Steve Jobs’ analysis of such projects vs. traditional newspaper pundits. That is, they all think their product is worth more than the paper they used to print it on – and it ain’t. An inexpensive subscription model results in expanding profits. If he’s right – Rupert is out to prove it.

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