Tuesday, March 02, 2010

An App for The Congleton Chronicle

There is a new Exact Editions app in the iTunes app store. The Congleton Chronicle is a free app which gives access to the current issue of the weekly newspaper as it is published. Anyone who downloads the app from iTunes has free access, in full resolution pages, to some of the newspaper (currently the first 7 pages). The rest of the content can be freely searched and browsed in 'thumbnail' resolution. This is sometimes called a 'freemium' model. The basic app is free and will be available to anybody with an iPhone (iPod Touch, or an iPad) and at any time the user can upgrade to a paid for subscription which will give access to the full paper, and to archived issues (a 30 day sub costs £2.39 or $3.99, in comparison to £25 for an annual subscription to the web edition or £58 for a print subscription ). Making some of the paper freely available to anyone with an iPhone is a strong way of promoting awareness of the publication. The advertisements in this part of the paper will also attract additional attention. As is usual with publications on the Exact Editions platform, phone numbers are clickable to call; urls, email addresses and post codes are live. Readers of the newspaper will now include users of an iPhone app which offers a significant amount of linkage and interactivity available to the audience.

Publishers of newspapers and magazines deployed on the Exact Editions app platform can decide how much of the paper should be available in full with the freemium distribution. The free app will only provide access to the current issue (the old issue will drop out as the new one arrives), whereas paid subscribers using the app will have access to back issues.

The Congleton Chronicle is the first newspaper to have its own branded app in the iTunes store giving subscribers access to the whole newspaper. By making some of the news content free as a taster to anyone with an iPhone, whilst offering a straightforward in-app purchase to modestly priced subscriptions for full access, the Chronicle is pioneering a freemium distribution model which could apply to any local newspaper; and to any daily newspaper. The Chronicle is also first newspaper to have a free app with in-app purchasing to a full sub, which can itself be renewed through iTunes payments (we think!).

All Exact Editions apps now support syncing. We recommend first running the app within a wi-fi area so it can sync the latest issue to your phone - after that you can use it anywhere. With the free app some pages are sync-ed in full, the rest is sync-ed in thumbnail, with a paid subscription the latest issue is sync-ed in full , so members of the far flung Congleton diaspora can now read the first few pages of their favourite local paper for free on the Tokyo, New York or Sidney subways..... and when they get into the sunlight they can upgrade to a subscription (web connection is required for e-commerce and for searching).

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