Last year, I attended a conference where one of the speakers raved about the access her iPad gave her to other magazines and newspapers. Having been given an iPad recently, I can certainly vouch for her assertions – I’m enjoying the Dining and Wine section of the New York Times at the moment. It gives me a view into what the rest of the world is up to and what they are thinking. But more on that in another post.
Given my obvious interest in the internet and trying to understand what consumers value, exploring iPad applications has been an interesting foray into the issue of cost & value – where does the value lie – is it with the media company or the reader.
For example, last year, I was quoted NZ20 per week to import the weekend edition of a European newspaper. That same newspaper (for 6-days a week, not just the weekend edition) is offered on the iPad for roughly NZ6 per week, however, you must purchase a year at a time. Unfortunately, because I don’t read all of it’s content, nor do I read it every week, it becomes an expensive extra subscription (it wouldn’t replace the local papers necessarily) for the content I actually do read. I’d be more interested in buying the European newspaper one edition at a time - just like I buy the local papers now. Unfortunately, that payment method is not an option with this particular newspaper. So, I ‘bought’ what I wanted to read from their competitor. The fact that the ‘competitor’ didn’t charge, is of no consequence to me – they just offered me a better purchase option.
The New York Times iPad Application is free at the moment, no doubt supported by a lot of data gathering and advertising (Black Swan is a prominent ad at the moment) - it will be interesting to see when they decide, and how they decide, to charge. I’ve been really enjoying the Dining & Wine sections and I may yet get to the other sections later, but will I miss the writing, if they want to charge me for sections I don’t read or find valuable?
And yet another model is from The Economist which is offering a quarterly iPad magazine called Intelligent Life, which is fully sponsored, so as to be free to the reader. I’ve never thought of The Economist as a particularly advertising driven newspaper, so I was suprised at the ‘fully sponsored’ approach. On the other hand, I’m pleased to be able to trial the magazine, while the sponsorship is in place. That way, I’ll know if I want to purchase it, should they want to charge in the future.
I’m happy to pay for content, just like I pay for songs on iTunes, but the content has to be valuable with an efficient payment option. And, I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to see how internet content providers work out how to make this work!