Now that’s how you do an iPad app for a newspaper NZ Herald (and how not to do it AirNZ!)
The NZ Herald released its iPad app a few weeks back. And I have to say, it rocks.
They got so much right, where others screw up, such as:
- Easy to use interface. It fully uses the iPad and its screen.
- Formatting is consistent – all articles are in a small box, with categories at the top. When you click on the story it opens up a window, which starts with a pic then scrolls through page(s) of the text.
- No premium/free distinction – it’s all just there
- It’s all FREE (so many get this wrong – I will no longer pay for simple access to info that others provide for free)
- Even the ads are cool – check out the Merc at at the start – it makes you WANT to watch it
The even get this bit right, and have a YouTube version of their add so people like me can post it:
Where newspapers go wrong
Where MOST newspapers go wrong is they try to bring their old business model online. Their model USED to be write stuff people want to read, mix in some ads and then sell the product to the readers. The online mindset says I want the stuff for free, and if you won’t give it to me I will get it somewhere else, or just download it for free anyway. Their old model had high set up cost (the article writing and production) PLUS a variable cost of production (printing, postage etc). Their new model has a high(ish) fixed cost (although a lot of it is setting up the template/look) and then an almost zero variable cost (the cost of 10,000 people reading an online version is almost the same as 10 people). But newspapers keep trying to change for content, where the rationale for doing so (the variable cost of each reader) is no longer there. They can get HEAPS of readers by getting REAL good content, and as a result of more readers, charge even more for advertising, all while having no extra costs each time someone reads/downloads it. Simple really, so why do so many Newspapers get this so wrong? No idea really, I think they are just a dead technology waiting to die, and just don’t get the opportunity that’s there. I actually think their window is closing here. Right now they still have lots of customers, they can leavergae off this by marketing their online offering (the free one – like NZ Herald) and build a new business online. However, as time goes on they will have less and less readers, and their will be more (competitors) alternatives online. In time the window off opportunity will have closed, and they wont have any leaverage to use.
Another ‘how not to do it’ story
While on the subject of how to do it (or in this case NOT) – I see AIrNZ made their Kiaora Magazine (the one you get on the plane) as an iPhone/iPad app. Cool I think, novel even. But where they screwed up is they went and charged for it. The App is free, but each issue need to be paid for ($NZ 5.29 I think). What were they thinking? Here’s my thoughts on this:
- The mag is free when you fly (they say Take me, I am free)
- The cost of putting it online in any form has a (moderately high) fixed cost only (no variable cost for each copy, unlike printed copies)
- The mag is full of advertising
- I think few people will pay for the app
- They COULD have had a premium for advertising coz of increased readers, but instead will unlikely even get back their fixed cost investment
- They could have even had online only adds, targeting say technology or higher end travel (these people have more disposable money)
- Such a lost opportunity for AirNZ
- They will probably pull the plug in a year or less saying “not enough readers”
Looks like I am not alone here, most people think the fee from AIrNZ is a joke.
Black and White Version: Some people get how to use new technology, some don’t. Well done NZ Herald, silly billy AirNZ.
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