Monday, October 25, 2010

The Oklahoman releases iPad app; $9.99 a month subscription price for those not receiving home delivery

Last week The Oklahoman released its first iPad app. Because the paper is independently owned, and located in the middle of the country, I suppose is the reason its release went by without much fanfare. But since I am always looking within iTunes for new apps I found it easily enough.
I assumed the tablet edition of The Oklahoman would be another replica edition but I am pleased to report this is a very good app designed along the NYT/Financial Times model.

The app is free to download, and once installed will give the user access to one edition of the paper. After that, the reader must pay $4.99 a month if you are a print subscriber, and $9.99 a month if you are not.

I don't know if this is a conscious decision to move subscribers who own iPads over to their tablet edition but I think this would be the choice I would make (I recently cancelled by Tribune subscription and only receive the Sunday edition in print now). While five bucks a month is not a lot of money to spend on a newspaper, it is when you are also paying for the print edition -- iPad owners hate double paying. But $9.99 a month for access is a reasonable price -- though I must say that their price for an annual print home delivery subscription is also quite reasonable, $158.34 a year (who comes up with these odd prices?).
If you are not familiar with The Oklahoman here is a little background: it is owned by the Gaylord family and was founded back in 1889. It is one of those papers that literally wraps itself in the flag as its iPad app icon points out. Today's edition avoids the unpleasant news to be found in the WikiLeaks story and instead concentrates on local news and sports. Its editorial page today applauds the severe budget cuts proposed by the Tories in the UK and recommends the same 19 percent cuts for the U.S. An editorial cartoon shows President Obama speaking about creating "shovel ready jobs", then shows a grave with the tombstone saying "Capitalism R.I.P." -- in other words, Obama is a socialist. That's The Oklahoman.
If I had one complaint about the new iPad app itself it would be that the reader can swipe the home page to reach more news, but can not swipe back. I found this strange at first but then found the back arrow at the bottom.

Like many publishers this tablet edition uses the single-sponsor approach -- well, sort of.

The only ad to be found here is for Wimgo Deals, The Oklahoma Publishing Company's own local entity. It always saddens me when these new apps come out without any ads from local merchants -- I could not imagine launching a new product without having an ad from one of our best advertisers in it. Oh well.