News Corp's iPad ‘Daily’ Debut and Earnings Preview

Rupert Murdoch
Nick Laham | Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch

It's a busy day for Rupert Murdoch - he launched his long-awaited iPad-only news app "The Daily" and News Corp will report quarterly earnings after the bell.

Murdoch, a staunch believer in the value of newspapers and the potential to upgrade them for a new digital generation, aims to lead the way to a new digital newsstand. 'The Daily' is a news publication designed just for the iPad , exploiting all its high tech bells and whistles. That means this sleek digital publication is easy to flip through like a magazine, and it seamlessly integrates videos, 360 degree photos, audio clips, and interactive charts along with text articles.

I've gotten a sneak peak, and it's impressive. But will consumers pay for it? The app, which will be updated daily will cost 99 cents a week or $40 per year, just a fraction the cost of its Wall Street Journal iPad subscription. 'The Daily' will have up to 100 pages, including a smattering of ads. (The first two weeks are available free, sponsored by Verizon). Working in 'The Daily's' favor is the fact that consumers aren't yet accustomed to getting news on the iPad for free. While people have been trained to *expect* to get news for free online, media giants still have an opportunity to train them to pay for apps on tablets. This could be the next big subscription business. Other publishers like the New York Times and Washington Post will be watching closely.

But newspapers are unlikely to play a major part NewsCorp's quarterly results. The media giant's cable networks are expected to drive results higher thanks to a stronger ad market and higher subscription fees from cable and satellite companies.

Wall Street expects News Corp to report adjusted earnings of 28 cents per share, up from 25 cents a year ago, on revenue of $8.7 billion, which is flat with last year. Analysts will be looking for updated guidance on News Corp's full fiscal year, as well as some insight into the BSkyB deal. Murdoch has been pushing to buy the remaining 61 parent of BSkyB that News Corp doesn't already own. Acquiring BSkyB, which would require UK approval, would boost News Corp's valuation. The other issue for today's conference call is MySpace: is News Corp any closer to a sale of the lagging division?

Questions? Comments?