It appears that Rupert Murdoch's iPad newspaper could have a worthy rival in the tablet publishing game.
Richard Branson announced on Wednesday that he plans to unveil an "iPad magazine" in New York next week — a publication that, depending on its frequency — could pose a threat to Murdoch's so-called "Daily," or, at the very least, take some of the spotlight away from the Australian billionaire's quest to be first to market.
It's unclear what Branson plans to call it. In the invites for next week’s unveiling, Virgin's iPad project is referred to as that: “Project.” According to the Guardian, when Branson first announced plans for the publication, back in July, it was called "Maverick." (Branding note to Branson: Why not call it "iVirgin"?)
News Corp. has spent upwards of $30 million developing Murdoch's iPad "Daily," hiring high-priced talent — like former Page Six editor Richard Johnson and New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, among others — for publication, set to debut next month.
A pair of billionaire moguls waging war for market share in a virtual world would make for good media-on-media ink, if it were true. But Branson's project sounds more like Vanity Fair, or Maxim, than the Wall Street Journal.
Virgin's project will be more entertainment and less current affairs focused than the Daily. It is being spearheaded by Branson's 29-year-old daughter Holly and editorially led by Anthony Noguera, former editor of Arena, Zoo and FHM. Its content will lean heavily on entertainment, design, business, travel and international culture.
Yet by "announcing further details of his iPad magazine in New York," the Guardian notes, "Branson is making an explicit move of his tanks onto Murdoch's lawn." And that's usually virgin territory.
[Photo illustration by TheWrap]