News Corp Project Alesia Not Dead Yet; Tablet-Centric "Daily" News App Incoming

News Corp's Project Alesia digital aggregation system may not be quite as abandoned as previously suspected, with CEO Rupert Murdoch telling attendees at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference this week that the first step in the process is nearly ready for launch. "There are two tablet-based projects [within News Corp]" Murdoch explained, referring to a news app for tablets believed to be called the Daily, and saying that "there is ongoing work around a tablet-based publication, I will give you more details around that in the short term, in the next few months. That's largely a US... tablet-only product."

"The Alesia concept – which is not so much about tablets, it's more about bundling digital journalism subscriptions – is one that is very, very exciting. From the perspective of being able to bundle digital newspapers, if you will, or journalism on that basis to drive down cost for customers and drive up consumption, we think that's a very exciting prospect and makes sense for customers." Rupert Murdoch, CEO, News Corp

The Daily has apparently seen News Corp picking up high-profile talent in New York, with the music critic from the New Yorker, Viacom's digital division head and former editors from the NYT and Post all believed to have been brought on board. Discussions with Apple over revenue sharing and distribution are also ongoing.

It remains to be seen what balance of original content creation and aggregation News Corp will settle on for Alesia. Despite speculation that Murdoch couldn't find enough interesting partner agencies to include their content, the outspoken CEO said that, in fact, it was down to the fact that "independent publishers haven't really made up their mind in terms of where they set their own digital products."