Two months ago, I wrote about why the pay-to-read model won’t work on the Web. I argued that people are accustomed to getting news for free on the Internet and the data showed that the majority of Internet users aren’t willing to upgrade from a free online news service to a paid one.
However, when compared to the Internet experience, the iPad experience is a different animal.
I’ve been using the iPad consistently for a month, and I’ve only been on the Web two times. The reason for this is due to Apps.
iPad Apps offer a customised experience based solely on the iPad. So, while I may be able to get content from a provider for free on the iPad’s Web browser — I would rather pay for the App which will give me a better experience.
For example, when trying to read content on Mashable.com, on my iPad Web browser, it is a painful experience. However, when I open up the Mashable iPad App, it is amazingly simple and smooth. The App also makes it incredibly simple to share the content I am enjoying across social media platforms. The Mashable iPad App is free — but even if it wasn’t — I’d still buy it.
Before I had the iPad, if Mashable.com decided to become a paid service on the Web, I would have stopped consuming it. I’m not used to paying for content on the World Wide Web and I’d simply visit other websites. Plus, if the paid model was a similar experience to the free model, I wouldn’t see any gained benefit from paying.
However, I would be willing to pay for a Mashable iPad App partly because I am use to paying for
other iPad Apps. The purchase process is already synched with my iTunes account and credit card, and it actually can be enjoyable to shop in the iTunes store. So when I buy an iPad app, I don’t feel
like I’m paying for something that should be free. However, if I had to pay for access to content on the World Wide Web – I most certainly wouldn’t be happy about it because I have enjoyed free content on the Web for 15 years.
On February 2nd, “‘The Daily,’ News Corp’s iPad-only Paper, will be launching. It will offer fresh content on an experience that can only be consumed on the iPad. It will also offer special audio and video features that are designed for optimal consumption on the iPad. This is an ingenious idea and I think consumers are going to love it.
When you are consuming content on the iPad — it doesn’t feel like the Internet. Instead, it feels like you are reading a futuristic interactive magazine that Elroy on The Jetsons would have had And, with The Daily, users are going to get a unique experience that can’t be had anywhere else.
This experience will be available in a “paid format,” which is a format consumers are already participating in via a variety of other paid Apps. So, The Daily is going to be a hit. And while I have never paid a penny for content on the Web, I can’t wait to pay for The Daily next week.
Web publishers should think outside of the box when crafting their iPad strategy. It can be looked at as a new revenue stream, and a way to add variety and a new consumption method for your offerings. What companies do on the Web can be different from what they do on the iPad; and both can co-exist and thrive.
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