Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Murdoch's Australian tablet strategy remains consistent with release of new app for The Advertiser & Sunday Mail

The Australian newspaper properties of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. remain committed to a paid news app strategy with the release of the first tablet editions of The Advertiser and Sunday Mail, the newspapers of South Australia.

The Advertiser & Sunday Mail costs $5.99 in the US iTunes App Store, $7.99 in the Australian store. This will get you 31 days of subscription service, after which readers will be asked to re-up. The represents a good discount off the print editions: The Australian charges $6.99 (Australian dollars) per week for six days of home delivery, for instance.
This is quite a different approach than was originally taken by the Wall Street Journal iPad edition when it was first launched. But then again, The Australian is a consumer newspaper, not a national financial newspaper like the WSJ.

This is the fourth paid app released by News Digital Media, the others being for the Herald Sun, The Daily and the Sunday Telegraph, and the first one which was for The Australian. All the apps are charging the same price except The Australian which charges two dollars less for the app, but then charges the same as the others to renew.

The reaction to these news apps has been mixed in the iTunes App Store for Australia. Users have complained about the video content not playing, as well as the pop-up ads. Another problem seems to be that not all the print content can be found in the tablet edition: things like the crossword puzzle, racing forms and other content is missing because it can not be easily converted since they do not lend themselves to RSS feeds.

This is a good reminder that there is more to a newspaper than just the "news". Other elements that seem to be missing from most newspaper apps ("all" non-replica apps, anyways) is classified advertising -- a big mistake. (Of course, as a former CAM you'd expect me to stick up for classifieds.)

The promotional video for the new app is after the break: