Rupert Murdoch has apparently scuppered plans to launch a digital content system that would have offered subscription access to all of News Corp.’s media, despite being only weeks away from its official debut. Dubbed Project Alesia, the system was intended to be Murdoch’s assault on Google News and other content aggregators, and include sources such as The Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World.
If true, it’s been an expensive, time-consuming experiment. News Corp. is believed to have sunk around $30m into the project, which apparently has a staff of over 100. Meanwhile around $1.57m in advertising had supposedly been earmarked for the launch.
Despite rumors that News Corp. was having trouble encouraging third-party content providers to join in with Alesia – which would have been delivered on tablets like Apple’s iPad, among other routes – the real reason for its abandonment is tipped to be concerns over ongoing running costs. However, other reports suggest there were ideological and administrative issues that prevented deals as well.