The Daily is a landmark moment for media

Whatever you think of the resultant product, the launch of News Corporation and Apple's joint venture The Daily iPad app this week is a landmark moment.

Whatever you think of the resultant product, the launch of News Corporation and Apple's joint venture The Daily iPad app this week is a landmark moment.

It's the first time a major publisher has sunk significant resources into a tablet content application, with $30m reportedly invested into the venture and a team of 150 dedicated to the project.

The Daily is priced at an affordable $0.99 a day or $39.99 a year. It is initially only available in the US on the iPad, but the plan is to roll it out to all tablet computers and other international markets in due course.

News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch promised a new journalism for new times at the launch event on Wednesday, and the product certainly lacks any of the usual elements associated with a national “newspaper”, such as a clear political philosophy and a link to a particular city or region. For this reason, some people have billed it as a digital version of USA Today, a vanilla product aimed at attracting people who aren't already wedded to one particular news outlet.

And these are the users The Daily must tap into if it is to be successful: the young audience that is disenfranchised from print media and is used to accessing content for free online. This is an incredibly attractive audience to advertisers, brands, and corporations, but a notoriously tricky demographic to track down and engage.

The Daily is laced with video, panoramic photography, charts and infographics, plenty of advertising, and sponsorship - the first two weeks' access are being offered free in a deal with Verizon. It will demand new techniques and approaches from PR pros looking to place their clients in this new media environment.

It would be wrong to judge The Daily on its initial output. Like any new media product it will take time to bed in and find its feet. But this initiative and Richard Branson's Project iPad app are to be applauded. If tablet computers are indeed going to be the future of publishing, major mainstream players such as News Corp have to invest in ventures such as this to try and find out if it works.

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