Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another look at the charts: media apps in the App Stores

Every once in a while it is good to look at the iTunes charts just to see if I'm missing something new in the area of news apps.

For the iPhone, not much has changed for paid apps: CNN App for iPhone is at the top, followed right behind by Instapaper -- still the most useful utility out there. The right side of the political spectrum still loves its apps, making the Drudge Report the fourth most popular paid app.
One app that got my attention, though, was the sixth place paid app for the Harvard Business Review. HBR Today is still only available for the iPhone when an iPad app would certainly be welcome. You can currently get the app for only 99 cents, which is probably why it has inched up the chart.

Free apps for the iPhone are headed now by some newer apps like CarBuzz, put out by Wapit Ltd. The latest reader app to get popular is SkyGrid which some people are comparing to Pulse. But reader apps are a dime a dozen in the app store, we'll see how long this one stays near the top. The Fox News app remains near the top, as does apps from the NYT, NPR, the Beeb and USA Today.

The new app from the International Herald Tribune rounds out the top ten of iPhone news apps. I looked at the iPad version here.

On the tablet side, the newish 60 Minutes for iPad is now the most popular app in the App Store, which means that at $4.99 per sale CBS Interactive seems to be doing well with it. There have been complaints about video quality and consistency, but the 60 Minutes brand still appears to carry some weight out there.

But just to show how the charts only measure a short time frame, the app I mentioned this morning, Mac|Life Essentials Guide for iPad, is already listed as the fourth most popular.

Both the rest of the paid and free lists look about as you'd expect them with the NYT, Instapaper, USA Today and other media properties making up the bulk of the charts.

What's missing? Project, the new app from Virgin Digital Publishing. While the app is listed under "Lifestyle" you won't find it cracking the Top Ten. One reason may be that buyers are encountering trouble downloading the issues (I have no trouble). As a result the app is starting to get more negative comments from iTunes buyers -- both in the US and UK stores.

The Canadian store is dominated by the recently released apps from Postmedia Network, with the Vancouver Sun at number one. Guess that means I better post something about these apps tomorrow!