News International is reported to be launching a digital project aimed at iPad users, partly staffed by former News of the World employees.
Press Gazette reports that Murdoch will be adding a second tablet-focused magazine to News Corporation’s portfolio, and that it’s expected to launch soon.
The project is currently being called Project 222, since the UK-based team is located at News International’s office at 222 Gray’s Inn Road.
It will join much-hyped (but not quite as successful as hoped) The Daily – launched by News Corporation in the US last year.
Speculation that the launch of Project 222 is imminent was fuelled by news of a request sent out to picture agencies by former News of the World picture editor Paul Ashton yesterday. Within this, he asked that Project 222 have permission to use work syndicated by IDS – a portal which allows photographers to syndicate images around the world.
Press Gazette also reports that one well-placed agency source speculated that the move signalled the imminent launch of a Sunday edition of The Sun. But News International has said that there are no plans to do so.
Perhaps Project 222 will learn from mistakes of The Daily, which rightly had a focus on social sharing and video content, but hasn’t quite hit the mark.
With over 100 employees and an investment of $30m, it needed 500,000 paying subscribers to be viable. Yet back in October 2011, it was revealed that The Daily had reached just 80,000 – a sixth of its target.
Following a low-key launch of The Daily in the UK in mid-September following its US debut, perhaps News International feels that a local offering in a market with a News of the World-shaped ‘hole’ in it would be a much better option.