Murdoch iPad newspaper to launch in next two weeks

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - News Corp’s new digital newspaper The Daily, designed for Apple’s iPad, should launch in the next two weeks after some delays and will cost $0.99 per week, executive James Murdoch said on Tuesday.

The digital-only publication, available initially only in the United States, represents News Corp’s latest attempt to force consumers to pay for its online news and support investment in journalism -- a strategy that is being closely watched.

“It should be launching in the next two weeks, I hope,” Murdoch told the DLD media conference in Munich.

News Corp said earlier this month The Daily would launch January 19.

News Corp last year put the online editions of its Times of London and News of the World UK newspapers behind paywalls, preventing non-subscribers from accessing their content.

Murdoch, who runs News Corp’s operations in Europe and Asia and is the son of Rupert, said the response from readers had been positive, and said the company would release subscriber numbers in about six weeks.

“Sure enough, our audience has contracted dramatically but the engagement of the audience is very strong, our advertisers are happy,” he said.

Asked whether he had similar plans for The Sun, Britain’s best-selling daily tabloid, Murdoch said: “I think there’s a real question for the big, popular papers about how they tackle this. We have to be very cautious.”

But he added that News Corp might ask readers to pay for some Sun content, while keeping most of the online newspaper available for free. “I would be very confident that there would be a strong paid component in it,” he said.

News Corp is trying to buy the 61 percent of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB that it does not already own for about 8 billion pounds ($13 billion) -- a move that has raised concerns about concentration of UK media ownership.

($1=.6333 Pound)

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by David Cowell