Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NY Post iPad paywall wasn't a stupid move, it was a manipulative one – iPad paywall policy now reversed

I'm most definitely not a reader of the NY Post, as any TNM reader would understand. The Post is quintessentially New York, which means totally irrelevant to the rest of the country.

But it's most definitely part of the newspaper industry, and subject to the same financial pressures to perform – this includes its need to prove it can adapt to the new digital technologies such as tablets.

So when the Post decided to force iPad owners who wanted to access the Post's website via the tablet's Safari browser to download its app, completely blocking access, the move was all about driving app downloads. And it worked, the Post's iPad app has consistently been in the Top Ten in paid apps since its launch.

The NY Post's $1.99 iPad app
The app, New York Post, certainly takes a unique approach: it is one of the few newspaper apps that require a reader to pay for upfront, $1.99 for the privilege of accessing the app, then paying again for a subscription ($9.99 per month, $54.99 for six months, $99.99 for the year).

It's audacious, that's for sure. But it is consistent with the business philosophy of Rupert Murdoch: make 'em pay.

How successful the strategy has been is hard to say, as News Corp.'s newspaper properties have not been immune to the financial woes facing the industry, in general.

But now the Post is opening up its website to iPad owners. This shouldn't be a surprise as more and more web traffic is coming from iPad owners. TNM receives about 11 percent of its traffic from iOS devices, not counting the TNM for iPhone app. This would be a lot of traffic to deny if the Post's numbers are about the same. But now readers who own an iPad can now access the Post's site and read such journalistic excellence as Sexcapades of Ponzi felon. Lucky ducks.