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Wall St. Journal iPad app includes cluelessness free of charge

By April 11, 2010Uncategorized

I downloaded the free Wall St. Journal app for the iPad, just to see if there was something worthwhile. I used to subscribe to the print version of the Journal and liked it a lot. I got the iPad app to work, after chopping through the thicket of registration screens and admonishments.

I figured I'd get about 2 weeks of hassle free time to check out the app and see what kind of content they are putting out for the iPad. No dice. I kept getting a registration screen. So I deleted the application.

I don't understand something: startup companies like Yelp, Twitter and FourSquare toil for months or years to build a following and then try to figure out how to capitalize on the mass audience they've assembled. Newspapers have large audiences in the print world and can't seem to figure out how to tease a substantial portion of that audience into the online world. The production and delivery costs of online media are much lower, and so you'd think that the newspapers would be desperate to transport their paper readers to online media.

And then comes the iPad, a device perfectly suited to making that transition possible. And what do newspapers like the Wall St. Journal do? They want to charge almost the same amount of money for the online version as the print version. And they can't figure out how to let early adopters on the iPad consume their content free to get them hooked. Maybe they should fire all the executives at the newspapers and replace them with drug dealers. At least the drug dealers understand how to get new customers hooked on a product before exploiting them.


P.S. If you appreciate these kinds of observations, you might want to read this as well.

4 Comments

  • The internet has created this myth of free and it is destroying content suppliers. For a great company to push out great content, they have to pay for it – and so should the people who get to enjoy it. There is enough free on the internet and some of it is good but the New York Times SHOULD charge the same price for online content that it charges for print because fundamentally their costs are not lowered in moving to digital. Spreading faith in the culture of free isn’t a sound plan for anyone.

  • Francis Barragan says:

    I’m pretty sure some newspaper companies are thinking that since people can now actually bring the journal with them much like the real thing (give or take at this point at least), it isn’t like reading the news on your computer which people generally expect to be free. So they just go for it and charge.

  • X says:

    I’ve said it for years. Microsoft is the master of “Drug Dealer Marketing” Provide a teaser of what you really want ans once yor hooked, make you pay through the nose for it. Your absolutely right about the newspapers. In my town the local paper stopped made several changes. First they moved the TV listings to Saturday instead of Friday. Many people only got Fridays paperbecasue it had Sale, Garage Sales and the TV Listing. When that didn’t work, then they seperated the TV listings to Daily listings. Then they cancelled the Monday paper.

    People canncelled subscriptions at each step. (My son is a paper carrier).

    The paper also keep pushing the online version. They have increased the level of free content a little bit but people are not willing to pay the same price for an online version as for a paper version. The media industry remains deliberately oblivious that people have top pay for Internet access before they can have this content delivered. THey also need to have invested in an intenret capable computing device to be able to read the content. Then they have to pay for the content on top of that? Not at the prices the media is charging!

    Most ISP are removing “unlimited accounts” because of the increse cost of carryng this content. The ISP then passes the cost onto the consumer as “overage” charges. This practice is not causing most people to increase their account allowance, they simply curb their consumption.

    But then, maybe thats a good thing anyway.

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