Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dutch publisher releases universal iOS news app that allows readers to subscribe to individual reporters

This seems like a first to me, though I could be wrong: a news app that allows readers to subscribe to individual reporters. DNP Krant (Krant means newspaper in Dutch) is a universal iOS app built using the imgZine platform.

The app itself is one of those news apps that takes its content from feeds, so it resembles newspaper apps like the NYT or others rather than a designed news product such as The Daily or a magazine.
 photo DNP-iPad-subs-sm_zps428085a9.gif
But the innovation here is that idea of allowing in-app purchases for subscriptions to individual authors. I think it is a great idea and one that I'm surprised I haven't seen in a tablet edition or smartphone app until now. I could see lots of other uses for this strategy: imagine a Flipboard or Zite-like product where you could subscribe to certain feeds or individual publications; one could imagine a sports app where the reader subscribes to the news and information on individual sports or teams, etc.

The app is obviously flexible enough that the publisher will be able to add more and more authors. At launch there are 11 authors that can be subscribed to. Much of the app provides free content, with the content from the authors that require subscriptions grayed out.

By the way, while my Dutch is not the best (to say the least) it appears to me that this new news app is coming from the journalists involved in a print publication that had closed down. If I am right about this it only goes to show that once freed from the old newspaper model journalists and publishers can finally begin to think about original and innovative new business models that might work in a digital world. I don't think there is anything that should prevent this from happening before the shuttering of a product, but I appears to in far too many cases.