Thursday, July 12, 2012

Washington Post updates its WP Politics iPad app, adding new features important in covering the November election

I have not been a huge fan of the WaPo's current strategy with its main tablet edition, which I feel pretty much unnecessarily duplicates its website.

But the company launched an app for its political coverage recently, WP Politics, and the app has a lot going for it. Last night an update was released which adds new features – just in time for the political season to heat up.
WP Politics is a free app to download, and most of the content inside is free. The app, though, has a "premium" strategy whereby users can pay a $2.99 subscription fee in order to access additional content. This includes a premium "Insider’s Corner” that includes politically-oriented blog content such as Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog and Chris Cillizza’s The Fix (though I assume this is available for free online).

The app description promises future premium content in order to lure subscribers, though this should have been thought through a bit more before launch of the app.

The update brings in some nice new features:

  1. General Election Polling and Projections Map -- includes state-by-state projections and analysis from The Fix, in addition to comprehensive polling data, 2008 results, and "Good to Know" facts for every state.
  2. Customizable MyMap -- enables users to create up to 5 state by state prognostications, showing how each state’s vote impacts the race to 270 electoral votes.
  3. General Election Candidates-on-the-Issues Tool – plots Obama and Romney’s current and former stances on top issues, and offers video clips of the candidates speaking about each issue.
As I'm sure I've written before, this is the kind of thing I'd like to see more of: new digital product launches that take existing content, reimagines and redesigns it, and presents it to new and existing readers. Tablet apps like this also, it should be noted, increase the overall real estate available for advertising – especially important since the space available on most existing tablet editions is pretty limited.