A couple of weeks in and I couldn’t be more pleased with the iPad. I’m totally indifferent to the lack of flash and/or some of the other tech specs that many of the professional geeks groused about. This is one “kick-ass” device. (I always like to work off-color yet inoffensive phrases into my speech whenever possible.)
USAToday has announced that it’s going to charge a subscription fee for its iPad app (after July 4) but the company isn’t sure precisely how much yet. As of last week there had been 175,000 downloads. The paper’s print circulation is the largest in the US: “1,891,604 for the period ending September 30, 2009.”
Discussion about USAToday and the iPad from the Gannett Q1 2010 earnings call transcript:
USA Today’s ability and commitment to publish content on any platform were the drivers of our second announcement, which was with Apple. They also recognized that the strong appeal of our content, based on their firsthand experience with the iPhone. The USA Today app was up and running on the iPad the day it launched. There are two unique things to us about our app; one, the launch is being underwritten by Courtyard by Marriott through July 4, and secondly, after the promotional period ends, it will become a subscription model. It is one of the most popular apps on the iPad. At this point there has been over 175,000 downloads and it is the tenth most popular free app currently, and was as high as number four last week. It is the number one news application in both download statistics and user review since the launch. So we are off to a very good start with the iPad.
Many of the iPad owners also own iPhones and undoubtedly have USAToday on those devices. So there was probably a bit of a built-in audience for the iPad app. Question: Will Gannett make the iPhone app a paid app when the iPad app goes paid?
As the iPad sells more units the USAToday app downloads could eventually approach its print circulation numbers. However it will be interesting to see how users respond to the subscription model and what the pricing turns out to be.