A Tale of Newspaper Ipad Apps

So the hype has started. Somehow it all feels like 1998 when everyone rushed to throw up a website, this time it is apps.

This year, the Swedish Retail Institute(SWE) has proclaimed the 'Christmas Gift of the Year 2010 ' to be...

...the tablet computer.

Ironically, the product most often sited in this category is the iPad even though it isn't yet sold by Apple in Sweden yet.

The newspapers, who have eagerly awaited the tablet as their economic savior are falling over themselves to create just their flavor iPad app.

So far SVD has come out with their app which costs 185 kronor extra a month for subscribers. DN, Sydsvenskan and DI will soon follow. (Note: Bonnier's News Plus will include DN as well as numerous other newspapers. Looks interesting.)

According to a recent article by Dagensmedia the price level should land between 99-199 kronor per month.

Basically from a consumer perspective this means:

'To view the newspaper I already pay for on my iPad I need to pay 99-199 kr/month'

This is an interesting proposition but I think this tends to miss a point. There is  a clear difference between 'price' and 'value'.

What is the added value of the iPad app ? Why should I pay this ? Can I do more with the content ? Tell me. Show me. Something.

For me I am missing the innovation.

The best iPad apps are those that have been designed around the screen size and technical characteristics of the tablet. If newspapers want people to pay extra money, they need to offer more then just a PDF reader in iPad form.

They need to use the platform to rethink how they present the information. This takes work and I am willing to pay for this. I dont think I am alone here.

The funny thing is there are some really good examples of innovative News apps already in the app store one could have used for inspiration.

Two that come to my mind are Flipboard and New York Times . Both good examples of some innovation in the news presentation area and both free. Yes free.

So until these organisations lower prices or provide some innovative way of presenting the information I think newspapers will have a tough time selling very many iPad apps.

Time will tell.