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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  1. icon
    rorybaust (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Qyiet (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 10:03pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 10:14pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 11:05pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Ambrose, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 1:40am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Ty Buchanan, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 4:36am

    Free Newspapers

    I used to read the free Courier Mail from the PressDisplay site. When they started asking for a subscription to get in the main body of stories I moved to the free version of the and I get what I want - the title and the first paragraph of the story. I'm very happy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    j647 (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:00am

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    j647 (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:15am

    Re: another example

    more info, print subscribers don't get everything...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:45am

    Why people need newspapers?

    I have been noticing something lately. I get the news days before the media report on them, I think it is because the legacy media don't look at the same places I do, so they get late in the game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 6:07am

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 7:04am


    "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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    DH's Love Child, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    Re: another example

    Funny. My hometown newspaper did the same thing. Their website wasn't particularly good to begin with, and to charge for access to it is laughable. Fortunately, there is another (larger) city very close whose site is still free, so I can get news there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    chrobrego (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 7:33am

    Print still has it's head in the sand

    It just shows that high salaries doesn't necessarily correlate to increased competency or intelligence. These guys just have no idea how to change their business and are content with sticking their heads in the sand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    T Teshima (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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