News Corp., After Failing With <I>The Daily</I>, Gives E-Newspapers Another Try

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. ( NWS) empire aren't quite finished trying to distribute electronic versions of the company's newspapers on tablet computers.

Despite yesterday's announcement of the Dec. 15 closure of The Daily, News Corp.'s 10-month-old Apple ( AAPL) iPad-only newspaper experiment, The Times of London says the media baron is now offering deals combining the electronic version of that daily paper along with Google ( GOOG) Nexus 7 Android tablets.

Readers who agree to an 18-month electronic subscription of the The Times of London can buy a 32-gigabyte Nexus 7 tablet for 50 pounds ($81), a quarter of the retail price.

As for the software, News Corp. is selling e-subscriptions (called a Digital Pack) for 4 pounds a week. Over a 78-week period, that comes to 312 pounds just for the e-newspaper. Add 50 pounds for the tablet and the total rises to 362 pounds.

A Digital Pack subscription allows customers to read the digital version of The Times on any computer, tablet or smartphone.

Unlike The Daily, where Apple served as the newspaper's sole distribution arm, The Times of London/Nexus 7 deal enables News Corp. to distribute and profit from the sale of both the digital software (the news) and the hardware (the tablet) to read it on.

It's estimated that News Corp. spent at least $80 million on The Daily. Despite some compelling graphics and 360-degree photos, it never really caught on. Maybe that's because News Corp. limited readership to iPad owners.

Offering the e-newspaper in other formats -- to news-hungry readers on all personal computers, tablets and smartphones -- might have kept the publication alive.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.