Virgin plans magazine for the iPad

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Rupert Murdoch is to launch an iPad-only daily newspaper, Richard Branson has said he too is planning a publication for the device.

There’s little information as yet about Branson’s project – apart from the fact that it’s likely to be called ‘Project‘. It’s said to be headed up by Branson’s daughter, Hollie Branson, and may be dished out pre-loaded on iPads on Virgin flights as an alternative to the in-flight magazine.

Project is believed to have a focus on the arts, entertainment, travel and business, unlike Murdoch’sThe Daily, which will be a mainstream newspaper.

The announcement has already got bookies Paddy Power anticipating a circulation war. It says The Daily is likely to have the higher circulation of the two by the end of next year, with odds of 2/5 compared with 7/4 for Project.

“With Steve Jobs involvement News Corp’s digital publication is a very strong favourite – but this is quite literally a ‘virgin’ space, so I guess anything could happen,” says Power.

Indeed, the odds are that many more iPad publications will appear over the coming months, although most are likely to be specialist publications rather than mainstream newspapers. Observers are already querying whether The Daily can possibly gain enough subscribers to make its $30 million investment so far and 100-odd staff a paying proposition.

Branson’s promising more information on Project next week.