LOS ANGELES — News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is embarking on an ambitious plan for a new national digital newspaper to be distributed exclusively as paid content for tablet computers such as Apple Inc.’s iPad and mobile phones.
The initiative, which would directly compete with The New York Times, USA Today and other national publications, is the latest attempt by a major media organization to harness new devices to reach readers who increasingly consume their news on the go. The development underscores how the iPad is transforming the reading habits of consumers much like the iPod changed how people listen to music.
“We’ll have young people reading newspapers,” the 79-year-old Murdoch said during the company’s Aug. 4 earnings call. “It’s a real game changer in the presentation of news.”
The digital publication would be available as an application for the iPad and other devices.
As print advertising flees to the Web, news organizations are scrambling to prop up their bottom lines with new sources of revenue.
“Newspapers are looking at this as another lifeline to survive,” said Edward J. Atorino, a media analyst with the Benchmark Co.
Murdoch has been increasingly focused on building readership and revenue on digital platforms, erecting a pay wall around the Times of London and announcing plans to charge for access to News Corp.’s other newspaper websites. The media giant offers the Wall Street Journal on the iPad for a $4 weekly subscription fee.
The iPad launched in April with a built-in reading application that connects to Apple’s electronic bookstore, which contains tens of thousands of titles from five major book publishers.