Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Telegraph iPad update converts current app from free to one requiring a paid subscription for non-print buyers

Today The Telegraph updated its iPad app, turning the same designed app from a free one to paid. No doubt some savvy iPad owners will simply bypass the app update and continue with their "Best of The Telegraph" app to continue to receive content free of charge.
The Telegraph for iPad remains a free app, but now the publishers are requiring that readers pony up for the privilege of reading that day's paper. Individual editions will cost £1.19 ($1.99 in the US App Store) or £9.99 for a self-renewing monthly subscription ($16.99 US).

For print subscribers, however, there is good news as they will be able to sign into their accounts to access the content free of any additional charges.

So what has The Telegraph added to this update to make it worth paying for?

What's New in Version 2.0
- Greater depth of content including video, picture galleries, graphics and cartoon archives.
- Quick and Cryptic interactive crosswords.
- 30-day archive.
- Night-reading mode.
UK iPad owners don't appear to be buying into the plan, however, as the reviews are universally negative. But I suppose this is to be expected: one day you're getting something for free, the next you are required to pay for it. (To be fair, there are some minor changes in the newly updated app involving design and typography.)

But the mistake here was probably in launching a free app to begin with, not in trying to charge for content. At £9.99 a month for the iPad edition, this does represent a nice discount off the price of a home delivered subscription price currently offered on the paper's website of £6.60 a week.

So what would I do? Probably the same as The Telegraph's publisher, only I would have tried to make it seem like the newspaper really did upgrade the app. Maybe a nice introductory video from the queen perhaps?

Left: The introductory page that explains the app's navigation; Middle: the new page where readers buy individual editions or a monthly subscription, or else sign into their print accounts; Right: the navigation for accessing different sections and their articles.