News Corp. Explores Forming Paid Content Unit Aimed At Tablets


Credit: AP Photo / Virginia Mayo

It looks like News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). is accelerating its plans for how best to make use of its recent acquisition of the Skiff e-reading platform and the stake it took in the Steve Brill/Gordon Crovitz paid content start-up Journalism Online. The company is considering whether to create a dedicated news unit that would provide content specifically for tablets, the FT reports, citing unidentified sources and a report on CNBC.

A decision from News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch on proceeding with the tablet initiative could come in the fall. The initial idea is to have a news organization that would create original content for a paid subscription app that tablet users would download. The plan calls for the hiring of additional reporters and editors, as well as making use of staffers at existing properties such as The New York Post and Dow Jones. The unit would not use stories slated for the other publications and there would be no other relation to existing print products, however.

In addition to figuring out what to do with the Skiff platform, which until a month ago was owned by Hearst, News Corp. is also involved in digital storefront Next Issue Media, a joint venture of other major media companies including Hearst, Time (NYSE: TWX), Conde Nast and Meredith.

The subscription app is one of many concepts that News Corp. is pursuing in the digital paid content realm. Another one, the premium news aggregator product dubbed Project Alesia is expected to be unveiled sometime at the end of the year.

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