The London Times has made its App for the iPad free to registered users of its website. Previously, the newspaper was charging iPad owners £9.99 per month irrespective of whether the user was a times.co.uk subscriber.
Writing as someone who was once on the inside, this is a move that we all saw coming. Charging keen readers twice for the same product was something that was never going to work because it was more likely to alienate than attract or encourage loyalty.
Of course, even though the app is now free, you do have to pay for a subscription to the Times website. However, since this is currently £1 for the first month, this looks like something of a bargain. The iPad app is essentially the printed paper in electronic form, and done quite nicely too. Get yourself a Times website ID and give it a try.
In the interests of balance, I must also point out that starting with a high price and then going to a low price makes commercial sense in a largely unknown market such as that for the iPad. If the Times had found a million users willing to pay £9.99 per month, all its problems would be over.
It seems that that hasn't happened, so plan B - to link the website and the iPad app - has now come into effect.
Essentially, this is News International testing the market and finding its feet in digital publishing.
By the end of the year or early next, I expect to see a bigger News International app, which would allow you to choose your newspaper, then tie it to your Sky subscription and perhaps even offer exclusive content from Fox TV and film studios.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if there isn't a room full of secret squirrels working on such a project right now.
Who is this?
- Nigel Kendall
- Technology Editor of Times of London until July 2010. Now swimming in the freelance shark pool, with abiding interest in games, gadgets and what it all means. If you're looking for product reviews, head elsewhere. Unless it's a really nice product. This is more of an attempt to sift out what matters from what doesn't. With a bit of gossip thrown in for good measure. I'm also learning to use Blogger as I go along, so please bear with me.