Australian Newspaper Says The Only Way To Get Its iPad App Is To Subscribe To The Paper Version

from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept

rorybaust points out that the Sydney Morning Herald has joined the popular trend these days of offering an iPad app of its content. Nothing wrong with that, of course. However, what’s odd is that the business model appears to be that you need to get a paper subscription in many cases to get the iPad version. It’s no secret that some publications view the iPad and paywalls as ways to slow down the rate at which people are ditching subscriptions to paper publications — but it seems particularly short-sighted to make that the only way to get access to the digital app. And that seems doubly true when people who have seen the app say it’s little more than a PDF of the physical paper. If you’re going to push an iPad app, at least let it take advantage of some of what the digital platform allows…

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Comments on “Australian Newspaper Says The Only Way To Get Its iPad App Is To Subscribe To The Paper Version”

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15 Comments
rorybaust (profile) says:

If you don’t like toffy adding an apple won’t make it taste better (a toffy apple approach to news)

I am the Australian that first submitted this story, I follow this site and I must credit it so much with giving me the courage to write my self. I did a piece on this issue as well at my blog. We live in a society where entitlement is seen as a right and no longer needs to be earned. The preoccupation with one’s self and the constant need for satisfaction of our every need appears to be an all persuasive trend and like the flu in winter time is also very catching. The state of play in society however does provide for a two-way street, for companies and industries that embrace this need of their customer’s. The path to success for these organizations will be paved in gold, however for industries that have not yet recognised this and that are in fact having their own delusional thoughts of entitlement, their paths detours somewhat and lets just hope that no one has turned the light off in that tunnel just yet.

I think that the newspaper industry is a classic example of an industry that is failing to adapt to the new digital landscape and that the unprecedented success in their past has created a sense of entitlement, but in this new landscape they have neither adapted nor are they ready to compromise

the whole article is at my blog.

Qyiet (profile) says:

It's competing with it's own website.

The New Zealand Herald (the local paper where I live) announced an iPad version of itself on iPad release day. I downloaded it once to see what it was, then left it alone.. in a pile of dead newspaper apps including NY Times, AP, and Reuters.

Their web page versions are more useful to me because they come to me via links from other pages/applications.

I think that the newspapers are not considering value here.. With the iphone apps were often a good substitute for websites. They were an alternate way to present the data well formatted for the small screen. This isn’t needed on the iPad, so the value of these apps is marginal at best.

I have no idea what the SMH app is like, but even if the SMH was my main paper I would be looking for a really good reason to download it at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Getting a newspaper reader app right can’t be easy. Is everyone making their own piece of junk, or have they got a clue yet and pooled their resources into fewer, more expert vendors who can competently iterate on designs, so as to eventually converge on some techniques which actually function well as an ipad news reader?

Anonymous Coward says:

Too many sources of information.
Too many pathways to get all those sources.
News is pushpulled BY THE CONSUMER now, not the paper. I get my headlines via RSS+keyword often 18 hours before a paper might pick it up and I glance it on the way to work. Papers do a disservice to themselves now with glaring headlines we knew about yesterday.

There really is no way to realistically survive commercially if everyone consumed data like I and many other tech geeks do. I pay my ISP $70/month, that’s the only company that really gets my dollar, and even then I’d go cheap wi-fi if I lost my job, damned if I would pay for that without a write-off.

I never see ads, I block them all, they have no value in my life.

I could care less about iPhone apps, I’d never use a platform as restrictive as that, and find people that do use it to be at a distinct disadvantage in the ecosystem of information permutation. They are silly. Why would I have a singular app for a singular source of information when information is so distributed and varied and there are so many sources?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“They are silly. Why would I have a singular app for a singular source of information when information is so distributed and varied and there are so many sources?”

You and I are like 20-30% of the population of the US. The percentages of people with news reading habits that match ours are rising very quickly. What we are in right now is a middle ground of a profound change in the way people use, interact with, relay, and share information. Dont worry crap like single newspaper dedicated apps will die over time. Probably replaced by what ever RSS evolves into.

Ambrose (profile) says:

They do have ONE interesting idea...

I just saw an ad for a special subscription to the Sydney Morning Herald.

You get the iPad version of the paper during the week, “when you’re on the go” and delivery of the physical paper on Saturday and Sunday “when you’ve got time to sit down and read a real paper” or something like that.

It doesn’t really appeal to me, but give them credit for an interesting idea.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re: They do have ONE interesting idea...

Actually, this does seem like a good way to market a subscription. The best of both worlds and the convenience of the printed version for your leisure time plus less materials being used during the week when only the online version is available. I agree that this doesn’t necessarily appeal to me but I could see how a larger audience may like the idea.

j647 (profile) says:

another example

The hometown paper where I lived went to a paid subscription. I have many friends there and it was nice to be able to keep up with the news. They went to a paid ($185 US per year) but will give you access if you subscribe to the print edition. Needless to say, I no longer look at the newspaper,or their ads, and catch up with the news via other sources.

I emailed the editor my concerns and he hasn’t replied. The toothpaste is out of the tube! Why doesn’t anyone realize that?

Anonymous Coward says:

This business model is stupid and drives away potential customers. There is a radio station in California called KPIG that a friend of mine is always raving about. I went to their web site and figured like most radio stations I could listen to the stream. But found they are making the same mistake by limiting their internet stream to subscribers only. Granted it is commercial free, but I have access to a bunch of commercial free, publicly funded internet radio stations that kick butt, so their way is lame and will eventually harm them in public relations. They lost me as a potential listener away from their local market. Radio Stations in particular are no longer limited to their local market and can greatly increase their listener base because of the advent of WiFi. Cars even have it now and allow you to listen to streaming audio. The next couple of years are going to be awesome. Last month 69 million people streamed internet radio. I mean it’s wonderful to have internet access anywhere. I saw a kid playing WOW on his laptop in Burger King. Cool!

T Teshima (profile) says:

Aren’t all these papers trying to add value to their paper subscribers. I’m a person who still likes getting a hardcopy of a paper (NYT), guess I’m old school, and I actually like getting free access to the Times 2.0 application. I prefer it to their website layout. To me that adds value to the getting the paper copy. But would I pay extra for it? Absolutely not. The NYT paywall will probably be a big failure when they start it up next year.

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